Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Finding Hope Among Shattered Dreams

At the promising young age of 28, Melanie Jasmin was a talented and energetic woman with a hopeful future. The Montreal lawyer happily spent her days concentrating on her career, nurturing her personal relationships and practicing dance with an amateur dance troupe. Life was ideal.
Then, on a normal workday in February 1998, Melanie began to feel dizzy. Assuming she was overtired, she figured she had to slow down. Within 48 hours, she began to experience double vision and after a couple of days, she went to a doctor.
Within a week she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a debilitating disease of the central nervous system. Melanie was shattered.
"You can't imagine how this diagnosis changed everything," says Melanie. "I thought my life had no meaning anymore."
After carefully considering her options, Melanie began to pick up the pieces. She was determined to face the diagnosis with strength, intelligence and a positive attitude. She wanted to find a treatment that was both effective and that would ensure her quality-of-life. Melanie chose Avonex® (interferon beta-1a), which is taken only once-a-week where other MS treatments require injections daily or every other day.
"Because Avonex® is injected into the muscle, I don't get unsightly injection site reactions, which is important for
my self confidence and when I'm performing," said Melanie. "And with a once-a-week treatment, I never forget to take it and I only feel tired for about a day after the injection. That means I have the energy to keep up with my work, my family and my dancing."
Melanie took a few months off from dancing after her diagnosis but she has returned to her normal life and considers herself to be 98 per cent as well as she was before the attack. She believes that taking care of herself, staying optimistic and being diligent about her treatments are the best way to face the disease.
"The one thing MS has taught me is to appreciate everything I have - family, friends, work. Life is a gift and I'm going to take advantage of every opportunity," she says.