I have always felt that MS is not like feelings people have but more of an animal or creature that attached itself to me.
Even before my diagnosis in February 2021, I knew I had MS. Things didn't feel right to me and the more I was thinking about it, the more I thought I had probably had MS since childhood. The symptoms just kept coming and coming; fatigue, cognitive fog, headaches, vertigo, memory issues, MS hug (this should really be called ‘ms squeeze the life out of you’), leg drag, pins and needles. The more I was getting acquainted with this lovely condition, the more I was thinking, how could I label it slightly differently?
It came to me as I was having an MS Counselling Session with MSUK, whilst suffering with the heat from a heatwave in the UK. This is when I decided that my MS was like an animal/creature. Like some kind like a dog or a larger mammal. All animals are affected by temperature change or changes in their environment. So as I suffer with temperature changes or changes to my environment, so does this MS creature of mine, which is firmly attached to me.
Since coming up with this type of relationship with my own MS Creature (or Animal depending on how bad it makes me feel), it has become easier to accept it. Now I accept my diagnosis and roll with the punches each and every day.
This MS Animal will not defeat me but each day brings new challenges which I relish and use to help others along the way in life.
My multiple sclerosis story
Previously I mentioned I was diagnosed in February 2021, but MS ran in the family. My mum had it before she passed away 5 years ago in June, not long after I started my new job. After looking into MS and family it has been put down to genetics. My mum had dealt with the acceptance and denial rollercoaster, which led me to get my symptoms checked out. I saw my mum from the start of her illness through to the end; she ended her last living years in a wheelchair after a lot of falls and suffering mini strokes.
Shortly after diagnosis I was told by my MS Nurse that I would end up just like my mum one day but don't know when this will be; could be months or many years down the line. I already had this picture in my head and would think of the worst in certain situations. If it's not that bad then it gets turned into a positive. I made lots of information available to myself and made sure I had it all to hand in my somewhat diminishing brain.
I joined many MS related sites like MS Society, MS UK and Shift.ms which has helped me no end. I’m very appreciative of all the information and help I have had from these sites prior to and after diagnosis. When my mum had MS I often thought MS was a senior person's illness. They were the people I saw when my mum used to go to meet ups with other MSers. However, this is not strictly true as there are more and more people of different ages with the condition and with a lot more support in place now.
I have participated in many a Zoom meeting through MS UK with the Recently Diagnosed Peer Pod, through which I managed to get plenty of help and information from people who were great to meet. I also had counselling for my MS to understand more of what I am going through, again another great help for me to use different techniques to help in certain situations.
Since then I have made numerous friends through the Shift.ms platform which has been great. I have decided to help others with their MS and give as much help and support as I can; whether it's talking to them on the phone or WhatsApp messages to make sure they are doing well.
I am now a Buddy for someone and also just started helping with the Shift.ms Buddy WhatsApp Administrator role. I find it so rewarding to help more and more people. I am a chatty person and always happy to help anyone in need. I wouldn't want anyone to think they can't approach and talk to me.
What’s next for me?
My main objective would be to become a MS Motivational Speaker or a Consultant for people with MS, to help with their struggles and also their triumphs over this horrible disease.
Diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting MS and have a few symptoms of MS. Family history with MS as Mum passed away with MS among other things. Looking to make friends with fellow MS’ers.