Denise Votta Name: Denise Votta

Age: 31

Where do you call home? Switzerland (also the Beach and the Seaside)

What is a current goal you have with your education? Lawyer at the social insurance services office. In the future, I would like to use my knowledge about the legal aspect of the social insurance services to help myself and people in similar situations (if one day needed).

Who do you live with? With my boyfriend.

What's a typical day for you? Three times a week, I start my day with a physical therapy session early in the morning. After the therapy I go to work (now I work from home because of the covid pandemic). However, there are some advantages working from home: there is more time and power for other activities. In the evening I spend my time with family and friends.

How long have you known you are living with FA? I was diagnosed in March 2012, nearly 10 years ago. Symptoms started in 2009, but really inconspicuous, so I didn’t worry at all and couldn’t imagine there is something really worse going on with me. My mother convinced me to go to a neurologist to check this in 2011.. When the diagnosis came in 2012, of course I was really shocked...

Are there others in your family with FA? My sister was also diagnosed 2 years after me.

Describe an adaptation and/or transition you have had to take due to living with FA. I started using a walker in 2019, because I began to fall over more often. I also started to distance myself from other people and activities, because walking without help for a longer distance was not possible anymore. At the beginning I couldn’t accept this change. But now, thinking back, it was the best decision at this time. I’m more independent again and in some ways I have my social life back.

Denise VottaWhat do you like to do to stay active and what type of exercises work for you to stay strong? Physical Therapy, Pilates (good for core stability), sometimes climbing (strengthens the whole body and good for coordination), LEGO (good for fine motor skills).

Do you have any hobbies or special interests? Traveling, swimming, snorkeling, reading, cooking, to name a few.

What is a good trick to make daily life easier? Thinking positive, your head is the key to your happiness.

When FA gets you down, what do you think/do to feel better? You can’t change the situation, you can only accept and do your best and maybe search for other abilities others don’t have.

What is one way living with FA has POSITIVELY affected your life? I’m more sensitive, more comprehensive with the millions of problems an individual can have. I can appreciate the little things more.

What is a favorite motivational quote of yours? Hard times teach us valuable lessons

What is the best advice YOU could give to a person who has been newly diagnosed with FA? Stay strong for yourself, never stop exercising and thinking positive.

What is the first thing you want to do when a cure/treatment to FA is found? Walk for 2 hours at the beach in the sand (I really miss this :-) )

"I have FA but FA doesn't have me." What does this statement mean to you? How do you live your life in the face of adversity? FA will not stop me from doing the things I love.

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