“I was able to graduate in 2011 and I am glad I went when I did,” Keisha explained.
Muscular dystrophy or MD is a disease that causes weakness and muscle loss. It has no cure. When Keisha joined Commonwealth Care Alliance’s One Care plan in 2014, her disease was progressing. “I couldn’t walk long distances or reach under the bed for things,” said Keisha. “I was also concerned about my skin, nutrition, and neurology."
But Keisha, who is now in her early 30's, doesn't let MD stop her from living a full life. She says, "My MD is progressing, but CCA is helping me. My family is very supportive. My mom is nearby. We talk every day. My cousins are always helping me."
When Keisha signed up for CCA’s One Care, she was assigned a care partner, Harvard. “My first visit with Harvard, I just went with the flow. I never had a care partner before. Harvard went over the details of the plan. Once I met Harvard, I realized how much CCA covered – I’ve even been able to try acupuncture.”
Commonwealth Care Alliance and Harvard have helped Keisha adjust as her MD has progressed. “Compared to some of the other people I’ve met in support groups, I feel blessed and honored,” stated Keisha.
More is covered by CCA. I have been able to get lifts to help me get out of chairs by myself. My physical therapy and prescriptions are covered. So is my scooter.
She continued, “Harvard was even able to help me get a push cart, so I could still work in retail. He also helped me start the process for a personal care assistant (PCA).”
Harvard still meets with Keisha about once a month. “He’s very nice, caring, and involved,” says Keisha. “He doesn’t just speak to me on the phone, he comes to see how I am doing in-person. It’s one-on-one and I can text him with questions.”
MD won’t stop Keisha
Keisha continues to work on her personal goals. “My ultimate goal was to start my own business.” After her diagnosis, Keisha wanted her business to help support people with chronic conditions. With the help of a program at the Boston Center for Independent Living and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Center, Keisha recently created the business plan for and launched a clothing line called Girls Chronically Rock. Her business offers graphic t-shirts, bracelets, socks and leggings and part of profits go to the Muscular Dystrophy Association. For Keisha, Girls Chronically Rock is more than just a clothing line, “I want it to be a movement to motivate others with chronic conditions. It motivates me.”
Strategies to Stay Positive
For Keisha, her disease means that each morning she is not sure how she will feel. Some days are good, and some days aren’t so good. Even when she has a tough day, Keisha stays positive. One thing that helped her was to talk about her condition with others. “Connecting with others inspires and motivates me,” explains Keisha. Keisha also recommends the following: