Hi and welcome!
If the sweater is all in garter stitch and both sides look exactly the same, pick a side and call it the RS. Put a safety pin in it or weave some scrap yarn into that side so that you can eadily identify it.
The next step is where there's a problem and it's why the stitch count doesn't make sense to you. You should not knit the 44sts after the cast off. Cast off 7 and knit the next 10sts. That way, you'll have 11sts on the righthand needle. Turn the work, leaving the next 44sts on a holder and cast off 3sts. This is the neck edge. Work to the end of the row, turn, cast off the remaining 8sts (this is the shoulder).
Now you go back to the 44sts on the holder. Start knitting with a new end of yarn and cast off 26sts. I think it'll now make sense and you'll be able to finish the second shoulder to match the first. If not, come on back with questions. We're glad to have you here.