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Samantha Land Dare

It was July 4, 2002. I woke up and my foot was asleep. By the next day, it had moved into both my legs. By the third day the numbness was to the top of my ribs. It took seven months and several doctors to get the official diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis.

College, marriage, family. I was so nervous about whether I could do any of it and still have this disease. But I also wasn’t going to use my disability as an excuse. I wanted to live my life to the fullest.

One of my goals in life was to get through college. I took 18 hours one semester; it was taking over my life. I had to slow down and take care of myself. I changed my degree from accounting and graduated with a finance degree. Ever since I’ve been working as an underwriter. It’s been perfect for my MS. I’m off my feet, working from home, and I can lay down when I’m fatigued.

While in college, I found the most amazing guy. I told him all about my MS, thinking he’s never going to want to be with me. But he loved me for who I am. We married while I was still in college and he's been by my side through all of it. Through the fatigue, the panic attacks, the side effects from meds, and a flare-up of optical neuritis. In December we celebrated our 15-year wedding anniversary.

We have an 11-year-old daughter. We call ourselves The Triple Dares. I love being able to take her on our vacations and show her different things. We love to go to the beach. I’ve always been honest with her about my MS and why I’m sometimes tired or having a hard time. She is super understanding. I can't imagine not having my child.

It’s not that I wanted MS, but I guess in a way I feel like it's been a blessing. I see life differently than before. I always think, who knows what could happen tomorrow. MS is something that I have, it does not define who I am. Today I’m going to live my best life.


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