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Sixteen years ago, Liz was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis. The dreams and expectations she had for her life suddenly seemed to shift. “It was a really rough time for me,” Liz recalls. “I had recently gotten married. We had just had a baby and moved across the country. Then I got the diagnosis.”
After her diagnosis, Liz had to navigate changes and obstacles she had never imagined. As her condition progressed, she started having trouble completing tasks she cherished, like walking and cooking for her family. Some things were lost because of Liz’s disease, while others were gained.
“Living with this disease is hard,” Liz admits. “But there are some positive things that have come from my condition. My faith is stronger now. I’m more resourceful and better at advocating for myself. My will and conviction in myself are stronger than ever, and I trust my gut. And of course, I have Gwennie.”
Liz began using professional caregivers in 2010. She joined the Aveanna family in 2018, and met her current caregiver, Gwen, soon after. Gwen turned out to be the perfect caregiver for Liz. “Because of the progression and fluctuation of my disease,” Liz explains “it’s all about learning to adapt. With Gwen, I have a caregiver who is adaptable and flexible but at the same time extremely dependable. She’s as reliable as clockwork. And she always has a smile and a joke for me.”
Gwen helps Liz with the day-to-day tasks that her MS makes difficult or impossible. She helps her get out of bed every morning, takes her to doctors’ appointments, and cares for her throughout the day. Liz says she also makes a mean grilled cheese sandwich. But Gwen is so much more than a caregiver and gives more than daily support.
“Gwennie keeps my spirits up,” Liz shares. “She doesn’t let me dwell on things. She has a philosophy of finding the humor in a situation instead of getting upset. We have a good time. She keeps me going and keeps me laughing. It’s one of the best things ever to have Gwennie.”
Through the challenges that her diagnosis presents, Liz has learned that she has more strength than she knew. With Gwen’s help, she overcomes obstacles and lives her life to the fullest, and every day is filled with lots of love and laughter.