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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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Matt B., Diagnosed with MS in 2004, Male, 55-64, Married

How did you first find out about your relapsing MS?

In January 2004, I started experiencing symptoms typically associated with MS patients. These included general head fogginess, tingling in legs and thighs, and Lhermittes sign (radiations emanating from neck). I was also losing physical stamina and strength, and at one point, collapsed after a run in a sea of radiations and dizziness. This event led to a recommendation to have an MRI on my neck (since that was where radiations originated), and the lesions were discovered.

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

I would love to say I reacted with courage and determination, but that would be far from the truth. My initial reaction was total deflation. Lots of fear, sadness, depression and confusion. What kind of parent am I going to be? Am I now the guy with MS? I would wake up every morning, and the obsession would start.

How has your outlook changed today regarding your relapsing MS?

My outlook has really turned around, and I now understand it is possible to move on with life, and manage my disease. I am fortunate enough to be a relapsing/remitting patient, and have adopted habits that I believe have helped (huge knock on wood!). Continued health is obviously a huge contributor to maintaining a positive outlook.

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

I think it is important to do more listening than talking when interacting with the newly diagnosed. Everyone is in a different place, and we are all unique cases. I can so relate to the feelings of that period, and if I thought it would help, would look to share experiences, and convey genuine reasons to be positive. Unfortunately, there's no one size fits all recipe for MS, and believe it's best to offer unconditional support, and share a path that has worked very well for one person.

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