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LISA’S STORY

My name is Lisa Cohen.

In the summer of 2001, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (“MS”). In an instant, my life as an “escaped” lawyer who was finally pursuing a passion for independent music promotion and photography, was turned upside down.

To be both struck with an illness and the possibility of not being able to continue the work I finally found that I loved was a really hard blow.

I found myself experiencing worsening physical impairments. Optic neuritis made regular daily activities and photography more difficult, while I also found myself faced with numbness and mobility problems.

The downtown New York indie music scene that had been my world for five years was no longer physically “safe” for me…

Difficulty with balance and walking simply didn’t match up with navigating dark and crowded venues, musicians’ gear, industry networking and my usual responsibilities at shows. On top of that, debilitating fatigue began to steal my ability to function normally on a day-to-day basis.

In a short period of time, I developed a fear of what my illness and my life might look like in the future.

I began “living small” in many ways, feeling that it might be best to limit myself and adjust to living “safer” because I was sick.

It didn’t feel reasonable to have “dreams” or try to still be the person that I “used to” be, even during fortunate long stretches of time when my symptoms were in remission.  I basically gave up, and I lived a small, “less than” life for several years. Have you ever felt invisible? Well, that’s how I felt––Isolated, miserable, and invisible.

However, by nature I am a fighter. After letting MS take center stage in my life for years, I woke up one day and realized there was no reason to stop being the person I wanted to be. I decided that I still wanted to live a life that rocks rather than a life on the sidelines.

That day, I embarked on a journey to live a full and empowered life… a “rockstar” life, which I define as one lived by making active, conscious life decisions rather than autopilot decisions by default or resignation simply because of having MS. With some trial and error, I was eventually able to achieve that, even though my life had been at a standstill for so many years.

Today I hope to inspire others to overcome “the BS of having MS” and lead their own “rockstar” lives in spite of how down they feel or how much time they’ve already “lost.”

As a part of my mission, I founded this global community called Rockstar Women With MS.