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Meet - Charlotte Anderson

Georgia, USA

When were you diagnosed with MS? March 2016

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?

I will never forget my neurologist looking me in my eyes and telling me “You have MS”. I was a little shocked. I was very confused and started worrying about my future. I felt empty. MS has affected my life in many different ways, but nothing is consistent. Examples are cognitive fog, memory loss, mobility issues, difficulty multitasking, depression, anxiety, and many other symptoms and issues. I call MS the disease of question. Nothing about the disease is the same every day or the same for anyone with MS. I feel MS is a mixture of different diseases and disorders and that is why sometimes we see different specialists for different issues. I wish we could receive a text notification or an email every morning explaining what our day will be like and what symptoms we will experience. I try to control my MS by working out as much as I can, although sometimes my symptoms do not allow me to work out. I do feel you have to keep the body moving as much as you can so the disease does not win. I’m a fighter and I’m determined to win this battle.

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

Currently, I am dealing with Cognitive Fog, which causes memory loss and loss of words. I take my time in everything I do to keep myself safe and stress free.

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

My children, my family, and my MS support group.

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

I only have mobility issues in the fall/winter months. I use a cane and a rollator. Cold weather is my trigger for pain and spasms in my legs and feet.

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

My faith is strong. When I am feeling sad, I tell myself God chose me and I keep that near and dear to my heart. I also remind myself that it is about the small wins. I can’t do anything about what I am unable to control. I have learned to take small steps for each issue or change to my symptoms. No need to go from step one to step ten. I workout for self-care. It’s a great way to release stress and I feel great after. Even on the days I’m in pain, I try and do something.

#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?

MS is in us and it is not who we are. No need to worry about what you cannot control. Just remember we are stronger than most. Take small 10-15 mins breaks throughout your day. Give yourself grace with everything you go through, because you are strong and a fighter.

#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?

I have not. I would like to start a support group. At the present time, I am trying to navigate my cognitive struggles, which makes it a little hard to plan and focus. One day soon I know I will accomplish that goal. It is important to have others with MS to talk to about symptoms, feelings, and changes. No one understands better what you are feeling like or going through than another MS’er.

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