Today Tiffany is a law-enforcement officer, but she was in the military when she got her diagnosis. Soon after that she learned how to ask for help.
I was an active member of the military when I received my diagnosis of relapsing MS. Shortly after that, I quit my job and moved back home in New Jersey to be closer to my family. In the military, it became second nature to belong to a team. There was always a sense of support from the group. And still, I was very independent. I relied heavily on myself, so one of the smallest and toughest things I had to do was learn to ask for help.
One of my first lessons happened one day when I was struggling to get my socks on. I was getting frustrated when I looked up and saw my younger sister watching. She came over to help me get my socks on, and I let her. Saying yes to her helping hands was a big moment that changed my outlook on living with relapsing MS.
I have so many great sources of support. My family has been there since day one helping to guide me as I make my way on this journey. I also have to give a lot of credit to my doctor for helping me decide on a treatment regimen. And finally, I’m very thankful for my colleagues who understand my diagnosis and work with me every day to accomplish our goals together.
All the support I’ve had has helped me realize two important things. The first is that I’m not alone. The second is that living with relapsing MS doesn’t have to mean I am somehow a different person.
Something else I discovered is that when one door closes, another one opens. Even though my military career was over, I was very lucky to find a new calling in law enforcement. Some days I’m not feeling my best at work, and unfortunately relapsing MS doesn’t come with an "off button.” To manage those moments, I've made it a personal rule to always be open and honest about my health with my colleagues. I’ve come to discover they’re a solid source of support. I’m happy to say that I have found the same sense of camaraderie I had as a member of the military.
Relapsing MS changed my life, and it took time to realize that change isn't always such a bad thing. I believe this was the journey I was meant to take, and being able to navigate it with the support of my family, friends, and colleagues has allowed me to embrace new possibilities.
Tiffany S. is a paid spokesperson for Biogen and has experience taking Tecfidera® (dimethyl fumarate). She may or may not be currently on TECFIDERA.