Manager, Community Benefits • A wife and mother of 2 who is committed to helping others, and doing it in style.
How did you find out you had relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS)?
“I was in school to get a master's degree in health administration. One morning, I woke up and half my body was completely numb. I went to a clinic. They said it was stress and sent me home. Months later, I felt like I was coming down with the flu; my left leg started to drag, and I had a twinge in my lower back. I chalked it up to a pinched nerve. It wasn't until I fell in the office that I knew something was really wrong. My coworkers asked if I'd had a stroke. I went to the doctor, who sent me to a neurologist, and I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS.”
- Q. How did things go after your MS diagnosis?
- A. “My immediate reaction was, 'No, I don't have relapsing MS. That's a master's degree in science. I have an MHA—a master's in health administration.' I had no idea what they truly meant by relapsing MS at that point. I immediately went from the driver's seat of my life to the trunk of my life. I had a hard time accepting my relapsing MS diagnosis, and I didn't tell many people about my relapsing MS.”
- Q. How did you go about finding a treatment for your relapsing MS?
- A. “Finally I got tired of the injections and went online to research other treatment options. I discovered GILENYA and went to my doctor with a speech prepared about why I should take it. I started to launch into my speech, but my doctor cut me off. She agreed we should discuss whether GILENYA was the right relapsing MS treatment for me.”
- Q. What do you tell other people with relapsing MS?
- A. “My motto is just take it one day at a time. Don't be afraid to use your voice. Be your best advocate, listen to your body, and create your MS support group—it can be family, friends, coworkers, even an online or local community chapter can help you. The resources are out there.”
- Q. How is living with relapsing MS different?
- A. “Over time, I learned to better manage the ebbs and flows of relapsing MS. Heat and stress were triggers for me. I learned to rest when I started to feel my relapsing MS symptoms intensifying. I talked to my doctor about lifestyle modifications to help manage my relapsing MS, like stress-relieving techniques.”
- Q. Why did you choose GILENYA as your relapsing MS treatment?
- A. “As a mom, wife, and a full-time employee who loves volunteering and spending quality time with my family and friends, being able to take a pill for my relapsing MS works well for my lifestyle, as I'm free from injections.”
- Q. Why are you a GILENYA Guide?
- A. “I want people to know that there is a life after a relapsing MS diagnosis—your life! I want to encourage others who may be struggling with relapsing MS to try to stay positive and build a strong support network. You can feel isolated with this disease, but you don't have to face it alone. It's OK to ask for help. You are not alone.”