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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Black and white photo from the right side of a woman with sunglasses on inside a New York City taxi.
The glass door of a doctor's office that says 'International Multiple Sclerosis Management Practice' over 'Multiple Sclerosis Research Center of New York'
Black and white photo of two peoples legs and a medical chart on a table in the foreground.
Black and white photo of a doctor's hands holding a tuning fork to the toes of a woman.
Black and white photo of a woman viewed through the small opening of a door that says 'Infusion Suite'
Wide angle black and white photo of a woman applying makeup to another woman, both seated on chairs in an apartment with an light reflected into a white umbrella on the right.
Black and white photo of a woman on the right with her right back to camera having makeup applied by another woman who is seen from the front
Black and white photo of various makeup pieces and tools laid out on a table.
Black and white photo of Avonex multiple sclerosis treatment on a table amongst items from dinner time, including the edge of a plate and the end of a piece of silverware.
Blurry black and white photo of trees as a train rushes past them.
Black and white photo of a man and woman in the foreground with a slideshow playing on a screen behind them depicting a young woman in a wheelchair.
A woman sits on a sofa holding a baby while her older toddler son looks on over him with the corner of a television showing Sesame Street in the background.
Black and white photo of a woman carrying a young boy while another boy behind her grabs her back among items in a  small, crowded apartment.
Black and white photo of a woman sitting on a sofa, leaning back and stretching with her hands behind her head.
Black and white photo of a woman sitting in a chair looking at her phone in a non-descript room with an IV on a stand next to her plugged into her left arm.
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