Pam is a grandma from North Carolina. She’s been living with relapsing MS since 2012 and her main goal right now is to be the best grandma she can be.
Since my children became adults, I have looked forward to becoming a grandmother. There’s something so special about my role as a grandparent, because I get to be a caretaker, mentor and role model for both my children and grandchildren.
But when my first grandson was born in 2017, I was afraid that my relapsing multiple sclerosis, or MS, would get in the way of our time together. I worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up as he grew and became more active, and also that entertaining him when I felt fatigued would be a challenge. I’ve since learned that with some good planning and support from friends and family, I can say yes to family time and being the grandmother I want to be.
Planning for success
One thing that helps me manage my relapsing MS while taking care of my grandson is creating a weekly schedule. When I know I’ll be watching him, I map out activities for us to do together that week—like finger painting, reading and bath time—and make sure to reserve time for myself to rest and relax in between. This ensures that the time we spend together is fun for both of us, and I don’t have to stress about feeling tired or overwhelmed.
When family calls
When my second grandchild was born recently, I knew that I wanted to play a role in his life too, but worried about the challenge of being able to visit him. He lives out of state, and traveling with my relapsing MS can sometimes be challenging.
I’ve found that advanced planning helps me stay at ease when I’m coordinating a trip. For example, I schedule extra time at the airport so I can move at a comfortable pace and avoid feeling rushed. I also always pack healthy snacks to keep me energized and help me stay on a healthy diet while I’m away from home.
My support system
When I was first diagnosed with relapsing MS, I was hesitant to ask for help and would sometimes overextend myself. My husband and children have always been there for me, and my experience with MS has taught me that it’s okay to ask for their help when I need it! If I’m feeling like I need to rest, I can count on my friends and family to step in and help. My adult children have also become an important part of my support team.
Knowing that I can count on my family for everyday tasks provides a lot of comfort, but I also want to make sure that my MS does not get in the way of our time together. I know now that if I take time for myself, I’m able to say yes to the important moments, enjoy my family and cherish my role as a grandmother.
Pam H. is a paid spokesperson for Biogen and has experience taking Tecfidera® (dimethyl fumarate). She may or may not be currently on TECFIDERA.