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Unpredictible MS: Eric Kjorlien

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Eric Kjorlien

Life with MS
By Jen Gawler

Unpredictable MS

After being diagnosed with MS in 2000, Eric Kjorlien saw his life begin to unravel. Fatigue and chronic pain led Eric to leave his job as a technical analyst for Verizon Wireless in 2002, and his marriage consequently ended. Eric also found it difficult to explain his condition to others. "What has made things particularly hard is that I don't look sick at all,” said Eric. “This affected my relationships with people who couldn't understand why I couldn't just get a part-time job. My condition is unpredictable and each day my MS fatigue ebbs and flows. It's hard for me to know when I will be functional and for how long."

Eric found understanding through the National MS Society. Eric regularly participated in a Concord self-help group in the decade following his diagnosis. "Just the existence of the Society helps me to not feel alone,” he said. “Plus, the self-help group in Concord provided helpful information. Being with others experiencing the wide range of problems that MS presents [gives us] a better perspective on what we are dealing with."

Eric also found positivity in music. In 1993, Eric produced a CD called Potwisha and began playing the Renaissance lute soon after. Since moving to Mill Valley in 2011, Eric has released a short promotional CD of Renaissance lute music titled “One Summer Day in Marin.” He has been playing at local venues and events and recently got his first big break. His song, "Chocolate Chip Cookie” which features local elementary school girls, has been recorded. "I think I'm feeling better overall, or at least more functional, not only because of music's therapeutic effect, but because I am working on a business project which inspires me to move on."

MS is unpredictable and can impact your life in many different ways over time. The National MS Society is here to help you live your best life with MS through all phases. Connect with us, like Eric did, at www.nationalmssociety.org/can or call 800-344-4867.

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