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By clicking on this box, you should acknowledge and agree that your participation in the ActiveVoices program is completely voluntary. You understand that the role of your Mentor is to provide you with information about his or her own personal experiences living with MS and MS therapies. Your Mentor is an MS patient—not a physician or nurse with medical expertise. Therefore, your Mentor is trained not to provide you with, and you should not rely upon your Mentor for, medical treatment advice. You should understand that your MS and treatment experiences may differ from your Mentor's experiences and that any questions you have about possible side effects, risks or potential benefits of treatment, adverse events, or your MS disease course should be directed to your own health care provider. You also understand that your Mentor is a volunteer and Biogen Idec does not compensate your Mentor for providing you with the mentoring services. Your Mentor does not speak on behalf of or represent Biogen Idec. Your mentor is limited in what he or she can say about Biogen Idec's products by rules from the Food and Drug Administration to information that is consistent with the applicable product's approved label. You may stop participating in the ActiveVoices Mentor program at any time. If you have any concerns or questions about what your Mentor says to you, your relationship with your Mentor, or the ActiveVoices program in general, please feel free to contact MS ActiveSource at 1-800-456-2255.

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Harriet P., Diagnosed with MS in 1997, Female, >65, Married

How did you first find out about your relapsing MS?

I woke up unable to feel the skin of my right arm. I thought I slept on it, but after a few days it was the same for the whole right upper part of my torso. After cervical CT scan and MRI, my doctor hinted at MS. A neurosurgeon did the same. My neurologist reviewed these along with spinal fluid and gave me the final diagnosis of MS, 8 weeks later, after symptoms were gone.

What emotions did you experience when first diagnosed with relapsing MS?

I wasn't totally surprised after the weeks of test results. I knew several people with MS and each was different. Of course I was scared, not knowing what MS was going to mean for me. I felt fine at that point and wasn't ready to tell a lot of people, especially since I wasn't sure how I was going to handle it yet myself.

How has your outlook changed today regarding your relapsing MS?

I am not MS and MS is not me. I have some remaining effects from my last flare-up, but they're minimal. If I've decided to tell someone lately, they're surprised and say they would not have known. I often say I got MS for my 50th birthday...and if I had to get it, that's the best time in my life and in the history of MS to get it!

What would you say to someone who has found out they have relapsing MS?

Take a deep breath, for starters. There's a lot to learn about MS and your treatment options. Ask questions. Look into starting on therapy as soon as reasonably possible. Connect with your MS Coordinator. He/She will be a fantastic resource/support and friend. And reach out to one of us. We've been where you are, and we're here for you. Keep Breathing!

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