Saying yes to finding the right balance

Jonathan is a single, working dad living with relapsing MS. In this video, find out how Jonathan found a balance between raising his son and taking care of himself. Watch to learn tips that may help you find your own balance.

Jonathan has experience taking Tecfidera® (dimethyl fumarate). He may or may not be currently on TECFIDERA. He has been paid to share his story about living with MS. Individual experiences with TECFIDERA may vary. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if TECFIDERA may be right for you.


Jonathan M., living with relapsing MS

Jonathan: My name is Jonathan. I was diagnosed with relapsing MS in October 2009. Not long after our son was born, my wife was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After 4 years of fighting, she lost that battle and passed away in 2015. It’s something that no child should ever have to hear…but you know, he is a rock star. I want to say “yes” to finding that balance of being a great dad and living my life.


SAYING YES to finding the right balance

Narrator: A team of experts came together to help Jonathan say “yes” to finding the right balance.



Julie M., Time Management Consultant

Julie: I’m Julie, I’m a professional organizer and a time management coach, and an author.


Cortnee R., Family Nurse Practitioner

Cortnee: My name is Cortnee, I’m a nurse practitioner at a multiple sclerosis specialty clinic in Salt Lake City.


Laura S., living with relapsing MS

Laura: I’m Laura. I’m an educator, and I live with relapsing MS.

Jonathan: Thanks for coming today.


Julie: What would really make today successful for you?

Jonathan: I think the one thing is that I’m already feeling right now with you guys here is that I’m not alone, and I’m looking for suggestions.

Cortnee: Hopefully we can bring you some really practical tips.

Jonathan: That would be awesome.



Letting your loved ones in with Laura

Laura: Are you ready to get started?

Jonathan: I am.

Laura: Tell me a little bit about how you see relapsing multiple sclerosis in your life.

Jonathan: I had a lot of fear about how I should speak to my son about my relapsing MS when there’s no guarantee of what tomorrow looks like.

If there’s one thing I could change for my son, it would be to be the dad where he doesn’t see my relapsing MS in the way of our relationship.

Laura: When I think about my conversations with my girls, we as a family try to be as open as possible…and what I’ve learned is that it’s better for me to be honest with the emotion that I’m feeling, because if I pretend that that’s not there then that’s not healthy.  What I’d like to introduce is a way that you and your son could have conversation sometimes in the ways that maybe aren’t using your words.

Laura: Nicholas, you know how we put all these different magnets up here?

Nicholas: Yeah.

Laura: Do you think this might be a way that you can talk with dad about how you’re feeling, or dad can talk with you about how he’s feeling?

Nicholas: Yeah.

Jonathan: Such different emotions, right Nicholas?



Practical tips with Cortnee

Cortnee: I would love to hear from you. Anything that you might be struggling with or battling with?

Jonathan: My 2 biggest issues are fatigue and how I balance that in with being a busy dad.


No disease modifying therapies (DMTs) have been approved by the FDA to treat relapsing MS symptoms.

Cortnee: Believe it or not, fatigue shows up when you’re dehydrated. It’s one of the first symptoms. So, adequate fluid consumption can really make a big difference. Also, sleep becomes very important. That’s why we recommend that at least for 2 hours before you go to bed, no screen time. The relationship that I like to have with the people that I see in clinic is one of openness. I want them to know that they can be safe in bringing up anything. And, I can’t help what I don’t know about.

Jonathan: I actually come with a notebook of what’s going on or what has happened.

Cortnee: Other ways that people like to track things are maybe through electronic media. Sometimes they track it on their phone calendar…or there are specific apps out there that can actually help you track your MS symptoms within the app.

Jonathan: Excellent. I really appreciate it. Thank you.

Cortnee: You’re very welcome!



Making time for what’s important with Julie

Julie: Okay Jonathan, so what can I help you with when it comes through that time management lens?

Jonathan: Separating out the time out for me…and my own social life, and then the time with my son and being a dad.

Julie: So when you talk about social life and me time, you’re talking about time to relax, it sounds like…friends, but also dating, right? Like you’re ready to kind of get back into the dating pool. So what are you doing to make that happen and how are you feeling about jumping back into the pool?

Jonathan: Currently I’m doing nothing. I have a ton of baggage. I’m a widower, I’m a single parent, and I have this chronic disease.

Julie: You are you, no matter what your baggage is. And, who you are as a human…who is capable of loving another, and bringing somebody…accepting somebody’s love…that’s what romance is. That’s all it is. Give people a little credit, and give yourself a little credit. I would designate a night or 2, or a couple of blocks of time in your week that are truly dedicated to your dating life. So I want to show you a trick for organizing your weekend, so you really get the most out of them, both with your son and for yourself.

Jonathan: Perfect.

Julie: So there are 7 units of time for the weekend, and what you want to do is figure out a sort of flow between the things you’re trying to balance.

Jonathan: Sunday afternoon, I’m going to put “movement.”

Julie: Okay.

Jonathan: Okay, right up my alley.

Julie: Exactly!


Jonathan: I feel really good. For a long time, I thought that having MS made me less than worthy. But I learned my MS doesn’t define who I am.

I’m going to say “yes” to improving my social life. I learned a lot of ways that I can improve and focus on myself that don’t detract from the attention I give to Nicholas. I would like other people to know that they’re not alone.

Narrator: The people in this video are paid spokespeople for Biogen. Jonathan and Laura have experience taking Tecfidera® (dimethyl fumarate). They may or may not be currently on TECFIDERA.


The people in this video are paid spokespeople for Biogen. Jonathan and Laura have experience taking Tecfidera® (dimethyl fumarate). They may or may not be currently on TECFIDERA.

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