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Meet - Brittany McCown

Alabama, USA

When were you diagnosed with MS? January 2021

What type of MS do you have? Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS)

#1: Can you tell us a little about your journey with MS. How did you feel about your initial diagnosis and how it has affected your life?

Although my Multiple Sclerosis (MS) journey officially began in January 2021, the worst part of it happened during the peak of the pandemic in mid-2020. To go from living a normal life as a nurse, to suddenly experiencing various symptoms, such as right-sided weakness, intense trigeminal neuralgia, dizzy spells, and balance problems was scary, to say the least. These issues were so bad that I couldn't even drive or carry out my job responsibilities effectively.

Learning that my condition was MS felt like a death sentence. Especially, since I had already experienced so many of its ugly symptoms in such a short span of time. At the time of my diagnosis, I was only 30 and at the prime of my nursing career. So, why was this happening? I was scared and confused. I had to give up the career that I loved and embark on a new path in nursing a couple of times. I fell into a grieving process. However eventually, I decided that this could not be the end!

#2: What MS symptoms do you have and how do you manage them on a daily basis?

The symptoms I experience now are much better since, I started my Ocrevus infusions. I have fatigue (sometimes severe), right arm weakness, pain (bearable mostly), and cog fog. Sometimes, I have balance issues and minor dizzy spells, but they are controlled at the moment.

#3: Who/What has been your most important support system?

I want to say my family, but the reality is that they don’t know how to fully support me. They love me through it instead. My biggest support has been from my mom and my online MS family/community. I would not have made it this far or have thrived without connecting with others who are fighting the same battle.

#4: Do you use any accessories like canes, walkers, or wheelchairs to manage daily activities?

Currently, I do not use anything. I’ve had to use a walker during a bad relapse before, but thankfully I've not had to use it recently.

#5: How do you stay positive and motivated in your daily life? What do you do for self-care?

I stay connected to other MS warriors and reach out when I am not feeling my best. I try to share as much as I can and pray every day. God has not brought me this far to quit! I’ve also learned to rest when I need it. I no longer run myself into the ground.

#6: Your story and experiences with MS are incredibly valuable and can provide encouragement and motivation to others in the community. What words of advice or encouragement would you give to someone who is newly diagnosed with MS or going through a challenging time right now?

My words of advice are to get connected. STAY connected with fellow warriors and your doctor. Maintain a good relationship with a good provider. Listen to your body and try to make any lifestyle changes that are necessary to live the best life you can with MS. It’s here. It’s real. It can be ugly sometimes. You have to find the little things in life that you love and focus on those.

#7: Have you started a business or mission related to MS? Can you tell us about it and what inspired you to take this step?

No, but hopefully I plan to start an MS organization here in Birmingham specifically for the MS warriors in my area. To the best of my knowledge, we do not have a lot of resources here.

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