Dara has multiple sclerosis, though you would not suspect it if you saw her. She is a tall, attractive woman, with an easy laugh, a radiant smile, and a confident demeanor. Behind all that she suffers from occasional bouts of extreme fatigue, numbness in her hands and feet, burning sensations, mild confusion. Classic early symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS).
The first indication something was wrong came when she woke up the morning after Christmas Day, 2003. Dara immediately noticed her right pinky and ring finger were numb – “like, fell asleep on them trying to shake it awake, numb.” Within 5 days the feeling had progressed through her right arm and into the entire right-hand side of her trunk. After rushing to the emergency room the doctor there told her to see a neurologist. That was New Year’s Eve 2003
During the time I spent with her she would visits an MS practice one weekend every month to receive intravenous drug therapy, spending between six and eight hours each day hooked up to the slow drip, drip, drip, of the IV. The therapy was managing her MS well; well enough she was able to have two children, leave a job she disliked and start a freelance make-up artist career, and enjoy her time with her family. In her words “Nowhere in this journey did I experience denial. I immediately knew something was wrong and I needed to get it managed and would not stop until I had answers. The integration of my symptoms into my life overall is well managed now as I’ve become an expert on my own triggers; physically, mentally, and emotionally and am better able to help myself.”
Dara shared her life with MS so that others who have been diagnosed with this disease know there are options and hope.
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