Encouraging women to take another look at relapsing MS

(BPT) – Every day, women face common issues related to typical aspects of daily life, like how to make a quick dinner, how to organize your closet or how to host a small dinner party.

Women living with multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic disease impacting 2.3 million people worldwide, often find these tasks even more daunting after being diagnosed with relapsing MS.

Niki C. and Shannon G. are two of these women. Both are living with relapsing MS (RMS) – the most common form of the disease – but Niki and Shannon have made small, impactful changes that have helped them reimagine life with RMS.

“I’m on my feet all day at work, so something as simple as asking for a stool made a huge difference in my day-to-day,” shared Niki, a pharmacist from Columbia, MO. “It was a big turning point when I realized I could ask for help and make these modifications.”

For Shannon, a mother of two from Portland, OR, the change that made the biggest impact was being honest. “At first, it was hard to talk about my diagnosis, because I didn’t want people to look at me or treat me differently,” she shared. “But when I decided to use my diagnosis as an opportunity to educate and raise awareness of RMS among my friends and family, it helped me accept my disease and realize that maybe with a few changes here and there, I could still be the same Shannon.”

Niki and Shannon have both joined Reimagine MySelf™ – a collaboration between Biogen and SELF – one of the country’s top women’s brands – to learn about modifying aspects of their daily life and share their stories with others living with RMS. Niki and Shannon are currently prescribed Tecfidera® (dimethyl fumarate) – an effective oral treatment option that reduces relapses and delays disability progression – to treat their RMS.

Jeannie Mai, style expert and co-host of “The Real”, joined the Reimagine MySelf program to provide practical tips inspired by her aunt who is living with RMS. “My Aunt Linh had to reimagine her life after she was diagnosed with RMS, especially when she was faced with certain challenges related to her fashion and beauty routines,” said Jeannie. “I’ve been able to use my expertise to help her modify her personal style in order to solve some of the challenges she faces because of her disease, while still allowing her to feel fashionable and confident. I’m so excited to share what I’ve learned with other women living with RMS.”

Readers can visit SELF.com/reimaginemyself to access an exclusive, multipart custom destination offering practical advice on how to navigate these common issues – related to fashion, beauty, travel, food and entertaining, home organization, health and fitness, relationships and more. Jeannie Mai, along with writers from the SELF Made Blogger Collective, apply their respective expertise to offer realistic tips for women – including those living with RMS – to integrate into their daily lives. RMS experts and patients also have contributed to the blogs, ensuring their relevance for those living with this chronic disease.


Tecfidera® (dimethyl fumarate) is a prescription medicine used to treat people with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis.

Important Safety Information

Do not use TECFIDERA if you have had an allergic reaction (such as welts, hives, swelling of the face, lips, mouth or tongue, or difficulty breathing) to TECFIDERA or any of its ingredients.

Before taking and while you take TECFIDERA, tell your doctor about any low white blood cell counts or infections or any other medical conditions.

What are the possible side effects of TECFIDERA?

TECFIDERA may cause serious side effects including allergic reactions, PML, which is a rare brain infection that usually leads to death or severe disability, and decreases in your white blood cell count. Your doctor may check your white blood cell count before you take TECFIDERA and from time to time during treatment.

The most common side effects of TECFIDERA include flushing and stomach problems. These can happen especially at the start of treatment and may decrease over time. Taking TECFIDERA with food may help reduce flushing. Call your doctor if these symptoms bother you or do not go away. Ask your doctor if taking aspirin before taking TECFIDERA may reduce flushing.

These are not all the possible side effects of TECFIDERA. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. For more information go to dailymed.nlm.nih.gov.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, or breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if TECFIDERA will harm your unborn baby or if it passes into your breast milk. Also tell your doctor if you are taking prescription or over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements.

For additional important safety information, please see full Prescribing Information and Patient Information. This is not intended to replace discussions with your doctor.

Niki, Shannon and Jeannie are paid spokespeople for Biogen.

This article is sponsored by Biogen. © 2015 Biogen. All rights reserved. To access support services, patients can call 1-800-456-2255.

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