Wife and mother of three
Recreational photographer and coach
How did you find out you have relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS)?
“A neurologist diagnosed me with relapsing MS based on MRI results combined with symptoms I had been experiencing.”
- Q. How did you react to your relapsing MS diagnosis?
- A. “I allowed myself some time to process everything. I gave myself permission to be depressed initially. I needed to own my diagnosis, my fears, and my anger before I could begin to overcome them. Out of great difficulty comes greatness, and I still wanted to live a great life.”
- Q. How did you go about finding a treatment for your relapsing MS?
- A. “My doctor gave me 5 injectable options when I was first diagnosed. I researched and studied data mostly with relation to the effectiveness of the treatment and long-term effects. When GILENYA was approved by the FDA, I approached my doctor with questions. I thought I would be trading effectiveness for an injection-free medication. What I got was both!”
- Q. Where did you turn for support when you were first diagnosed?
- A. “I turned to my husband, my family, my church, and my doctor for support. Support is needed in a variety of ways for emotional strength, physical and medical assistance, and financial stability.”
- Q. Where do you turn now?
- A. “I still rely on my husband, my family, my church, and my doctor for support. The difference is that now I am strong enough to offer support too. I find there is strength in helping others struggling with relapsing MS.”
- Q. What would you tell someone who's been recently diagnosed with relapsing MS?
- A. “Surround yourself with 'cheerleaders.' When you need to reach outside yourself for strength, find it in other people, such as a significant other, your family, friends, clergy, doctor, or support group. Know who they are before you need them and don't be afraid to reach out.”
- Q. What was your reaction when learning about the baseline assessment tests and what the first-dose observation (FDO) would be like?
- A. “I felt secure in knowing that every precaution was being taken to assure me that this therapy was right for me.”
- Q. What was your First Day on GILENYA like? What did you do to pass the time (during the 6-hour monitoring of the first dose observation, or FDO)?
- A. “During my First Day on GILENYA, I listened to music that I had downloaded and read a book. I texted my husband to let him know how it was going. I also brought my computer in case I decided to do some work.”
- Q. Was there a difference between what you anticipated for the First Day on GILENYA and what actually took place?
- A. “Yes. It was far more relaxed than I expected, and I got to know some wonderful people who were going through their first day on GILENYA, too.”
- Q. What does being a GILENYA Guide mean to you?
- A. “Being a GILENYA Guide means I am making a difference by helping the person that lives inside the confines of relapsing MS, to persevere. I feel empowered in knowing that I can help, and I enjoy helping others find their inner strength.”