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Our Members' Stories

At age 27, Brandie began noticing something uncharacteristic. “I have been an active girl my whole life and in my twenties I suddenly slowed down drastically and we couldn’t figure out why.” Simple tasks such as walking from the parking lot to the grocery store became a huge struggle for her.

In the midst of trying to confirm a diagnosis, Brandie’s symptoms miraculously disappeared when she became pregnant. Her agility returned; she was able to walk easily and no longer felt extreme fatigue. Unfortunately, after Brandie’s daughter was born, her symptoms returned; except this time, they were much more severe. She saw multiple specialists until one was finally able to officially diagnose her condition as multiple sclerosis (MS).

Brandie’s primary care provider participates in CareFirst’s Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) program and strongly encouraged Brandie to work with a nurse for additional support. It was in her office where Brandie first met Kathy, her CareFirst local care coordinator.

"I have really, really good doctors, but they can’t give the personalized attention that they want or need to give. Having the nurse helps fill in that gap."

Kathy connected Brandie to resources specifically available for MS patients such as support groups, physical therapy, gyms and medication therapy support for her prescriptions.

Kathy helped Brandie realize, with some modifications, she can continue to do the things she’s always done and enjoyed. For example, Kathy encouraged Brandie to apply for a handicap parking sticker and advised Brandie to rent a motorized scooter during her Disney vacation. She also researched tirelessly to find a personal trainer specialized in working with MS patients.

Kathy’s constant support and guidance has helped Brandie maintain a normal work schedule as well as be open about her condition with her managers and co-workers. Kathy showed Brandie the value of creating a strong support system and how to prevent or lessen the impact of MS-related episodes which might otherwise keep her from work.

"Kathy is just very, very supportive. She is my voice of reason. When I am not doing something responsible she will guide me in the right direction."

Brandie affirms, “It makes it a lot easier, especially when there is another person that can give you that personal care. They are an extension of your doctor’s care.”

Not only does Kathy maintain a strong relationship with all of Brandie’s providers, she also communicates with Brandie’s family; helping everyone understand her condition and needs.