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Hannah's Relationship Advice

I have experience with mostly long-term relationships, and some dating experience. One relationship lasted for 10 years. My current relationship just passed one year. I will be explaining everything from the perspective of these experiences.

Q: What’s the hardest part about meeting someone?

A: The pandemic made it so very difficult to date. Oftentimes, I never got to meet the people I spoke with. Going with my gut instinct is what I do best, and that’s a difficult thing to navigate when you can’t do anything face to face. It made me realize just how unique and challenging these times are, and how important face-to-face interactions can be for connecting with people in general. The few people who did make it past the texting/online stage are people that I had either met in person pre-pandemic or had made a great impression on me while messaging on social media.

Q: What do you prefer to do the first time you’re meeting/going out with someone?

A: My favorite thing to do is eat! I love being adventurous, too. Because of the pandemic, all of my first dates involved walking somewhere outside — usually a cute touristy area where we would window shop. My current boyfriend and I went to local parks often. We got to explore some parks that I had never heard of — ones that were located right here in my own hometown.

Q: What’s your No. 1 rule about dating?

A: I always made sure that conversation was 50/50 at bare minimum. I needed to feel that I had the freedom and space to say anything that I wanted. As someone who historically has been very introverted, this is a huge change for me.

I need my partner to be that comforting light that I can rely on to make the day a little better. Relationships are a two-way street. I need to feel like what I am doing with my life matters and is just as important as what my partner is doing. To give an example, I once went on a date with someone who was nice and well-rounded. He also had MS, so it was interesting talking about symptoms. But you know what? I didn’t feel heard and didn’t get enough talking time in for myself, despite many attempts at finding just the right verbal “window” to open. I crossed him off the list about halfway through our one date. My gut instinct told me it wouldn’t work.

Q: At what point do you tell someone you have MS?

A: I tell people I have MS right from the get-go. It’s right there on my social media handles for the whole world to see. I have nothing to fear from losing out on someone who’s a “good catch,” because if they’re really all that good of a catch, they’d be interested in my story and would have questions to ask of me. My MS is like a shadow monster that follows me everywhere I go. It affects my day-to-day, and anyone who dates me deserves to know. Conversely, I deserve to know if they are inclined to accept me, my disease, and the bad days that may come with it.

Q: Can you give an example or two of how someone responded when you shared that you had MS?

A: I can give a few examples. One person was mildly interested in a short synopsis of what MS is. He didn’t ask many questions after that. Maybe he didn’t want to pry? Perhaps he didn’t like talking about anything negative. I basically told him I’m an open book; he could ask me anything.

On the other hand, another person ended up opening up to me about his own struggles after I explained how MS affects me. I have found that these kinds of in-depth conversations tend to do that to people, so I wasn’t surprised. In the end, I stopped talking to him for other reasons.

My current boyfriend asked me every question imaginable about MS. How does it work in the brain? Is it contagious? What kinds of symptoms do you experience now? He asked me about what my day-to-day is like and how I navigate the world. I could tell these questions came from a place of concern and that he wondered what the future would look like. He had decided that every part of my personality was worth the possible struggles that would happen later in life due to MS.

My previous boyfriend of 10 years was around when I was diagnosed, and even went with me to my first appointment with the neurologist who broke the news. He was supportive in the moment when my symptoms were visible. But that seemed to be it. I remember feeling alone with my invisible symptoms and not feeling like we were a unit. At some point, I realized I needed someone who will be more open about their concern for me. I put me first.

Q: What’s a total deal-breaker in a boyfriend/date?

Q: What’s a total deal-breaker in a boyfriend/date?

A: Not accepting my pets as family members! How in the world can I be expected to date a non-animal-lover? Let’s take it a step further — how can I ever date anyone who doesn’t hold pets to the status of a family member? They’re my babies, and I love them so much. They help me deal with life and give me so much to look forward to in my day-to-day.

Q: Any advice for someone in a slump?

A: Please be patient. Do some soul-searching and really pinpoint what your standards are. Are there any specific questions that need to be answered in order for you to feel your best with your partner? You can be picky, and you can probably wait for the right person to come along. Be honest with them, too, because honesty will help you and your partner figure out if you’re right for each other. Find someone who will listen to absolutely everything, who will remember things that are important that you didn’t expect them to remember.

For example, my boyfriend knew that I was heat-intolerant from the beginning. I explained all the things that can happen if I become too overheated. It was a lot to take in. To my amazement, on our first hiking adventure he seemed to remember everything. He offered ways to help alleviate some symptoms, such as making sure I packed my ice towels, ice and plenty of water. We brainstormed some ideas to make our time together a little easier since we spent a lot of time at parks. The best part is when he can see dizziness and other symptoms when I’ve pushed myself too hard. I tend to get so excited about our hikes that I don’t take breaks as often as I need to. He can just see it in my eyes, and this is when he makes me take those breaks. I appreciate him so much for noticing the things I tend to hide from everyone else.


See more of Hannah's stories

What is OCREVUS?

OCREVUS is a prescription medicine used to treat:

  • Relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), to include clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease, and active secondary progressive disease, in adults
  • Primary progressive MS, in adults.

It is not known if OCREVUS is safe and effective in children.

Who should not receive OCREVUS?

Do not receive OCREVUS if you have an active hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection.

Do not receive OCREVUS if you have had a life-threatening allergic reaction to OCREVUS. Tell your healthcare provider if you have had an allergic reaction to OCREVUS or any of its ingredients in the past.

What is the most important information I should know about OCREVUS?

OCREVUS can cause serious side effects, including:

  • Infusion reactions: Infusion reactions are a common side effect of OCREVUS, which can be serious and may require you to be hospitalized. You will be monitored during your infusion and for at least 1 hour after each infusion of OCREVUS for signs and symptoms of an infusion reaction. Tell your healthcare provider or nurse if you get any of these symptoms:
    • itchy skin
    • rash
    • hives
    • tiredness
    • coughing or wheezing
    • trouble breathing
    • throat irritation or pain
    • feeling faint
    • fever
    • redness on your face (flushing)
    • nausea
    • headache
    • swelling of the throat
    • dizziness
    • shortness of breath
    • fatigue
    • fast heart beat

These infusion reactions can happen for up to 24 hours after your infusion. It is important that you call your healthcare provider right away if you get any of the signs or symptoms listed above after each infusion. If you get infusion reactions, your healthcare provider may need to stop or slow down the rate of your infusion.

  • Infection:
    • OCREVUS increases your risk of getting upper respiratory tract infections, lower respiratory tract infections, skin infections, and herpes infections. Infections are a common side effect, which can be serious. Tell your healthcare provider if you have an infection or have any of the following signs of infection including fever, chills, or a cough that does not go away. Signs of herpes include cold sores, shingles, genital sores, skin rash, pain, and itching. Signs of more serious herpes infection include: changes in vision, eye redness or eye pain, severe or persistent headache, stiff neck, and confusion. Signs of infection can happen during treatment or after you have received your last dose of OCREVUS. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have an infection. Your healthcare provider should delay your treatment with OCREVUS until your infection is gone.
    • Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML): Although no cases have been seen with OCREVUS treatment in clinical trials, PML may happen with OCREVUS. PML is a rare brain infection that usually leads to death or severe disability.  Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any new or worsening neurologic signs or symptoms. These may include problems with thinking, balance, eyesight, weakness on 1 side of your body, strength, or using your arms or legs.
    • Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation: Before starting treatment with OCREVUS, your healthcare provider will do blood tests to check for hepatitis B viral infection. If you have ever had hepatitis B virus infection, the hepatitis B virus may become active again during or after treatment with OCREVUS. Hepatitis B virus becoming active again (called reactivation) may cause serious liver problems including liver failure or death. Your healthcare provider will monitor you if you are at risk for hepatitis B virus reactivation during treatment and after you stop receiving OCREVUS.
    • Weakened immune system: OCREVUS taken before or after other medicines that weaken the immune system could increase your risk of getting infections.
  • Decreased immunoglobulins: OCREVUS may cause a decrease in some types of immunoglobulins. Your healthcare provider will do blood tests to check your blood immunoglobulin levels.

Before receiving OCREVUS, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:

  • have ever taken, take, or plan to take medicines that affect your immune system, or other treatments for MS.
  • have ever had hepatitis B or are a carrier of the hepatitis B virus.
  • have had a recent vaccination or are scheduled to receive any vaccinations. 
    • You should receive any required ‘live’ or ‘live-attenuated’ vaccines at least 4 weeks before you start treatment with OCREVUS. You should not receive ‘live’ or ‘live attenuated’ vaccines while you are being treated with OCREVUS and until your healthcare provider tells you that your immune system is no longer weakened.
    • When possible, you should receive any ‘non-live’ vaccines at least 2 weeks before you start treatment with OCREVUS. If you would like to receive any non-live (inactivated) vaccines, including the seasonal flu vaccine, while you are being treated with OCREVUS, talk to your healthcare provider.
    • If you have a baby and you received OCREVUS during your pregnancy, it is important to tell your baby’s healthcare provider about receiving OCREVUS so they can decide when your baby should be vaccinated.
  • are pregnant, think that you might be pregnant, or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if OCREVUS will harm your unborn baby. You should use birth control (contraception) during treatment with OCREVUS and for 6 months after your last infusion of OCREVUS. Talk with your healthcare provider about what birth control method is right for you during this time.
    • Pregnancy Registry. There is a pregnancy registry for women who take OCREVUS during pregnancy. If you become pregnant while receiving OCREVUS, tell your healthcare provider right away. Talk to your healthcare provider about registering with the OCREVUS Pregnancy Registry. The purpose of this registry is to collect information about your health and your baby’s health. Your healthcare provider can enroll you in this registry by calling 1-833-872-4370 or visiting www.ocrevuspregnancyregistry.com.
  • are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if OCREVUS passes into your breast milk. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby if you take OCREVUS.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

What are the possible side effects of OCREVUS?

OCREVUS may cause serious side effects, including:

  • Risk of cancers (malignancies) including breast cancer. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions about standard screening guidelines for breast cancer.

These are not all the possible side effects of OCREVUS.

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 www.OCREVUS.com or call 1-844-627-3887.

For additional safety information, please see the full Prescribing Information and Medication Guide.

    • OCREVUS Prescribing Information. Genentech, Inc. 2016.

      OCREVUS Prescribing Information. Genentech, Inc. 2016.