I never dreamt it would be MS
I was diagnosed with MS in 1990. I was 53 at the time. It followed a very frightening episode of pain in my head and loss of sight in my left eye. Thinking these symptoms might have been eye strain, I went to the emergency department of Moorfield's Eye Hospital. They referred me to the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery where I underwent a lot of unpleasant tests. I had no idea what they were testing for or what they might be looking for on an MRI scan or lumbar puncture. I never dreamt it would be MS.
It was a couple of weeks before I eventually received a diagnosis of MS. It was an awful time. Until then I didn't really know what MS was nobody in my family had had the condition and I didn't have a clear idea of what I could expect from it.
Over the years, I have come to learn a lot about MS about my own MS at least. I have to use a wheelchair now and my left arm is so weak that it barely serves a function at all. Losing the ability to walk has meant that I have lost a lot of my independence with it I cannot drive a car, go out by myself, dress myself, or do the routine household chores such as cooking and cleaning. Being stuck at home day in day out can make for very long days. But I have an incredibly supportive family and I look forward to their visits and shopping trips out with my daughter every weekend.
Pain is probably my most bothersome symptom. The neuropathic pain attacks I get are very unpredictable and frightening and can leave me feeling wiped out for days afterwards. I take medication for to help with the pain but pain is a complex symptom to manage and these treatments are not 100 per cent effective.
In the time I have had MS, the MS Trust has been a great support. I have received the MS Trust's quarterly newsletter Open Door since the time I was diagnosed. It is reassuring to read about other's experience of MS and how similar they sometimes can be, and to keep up to date about ongoing research into the condition, its causes, and its treatments.
The MS Trust has also supported me through very difficult times and helped me get access to the services that I really needed at the time I really needed them. It is the existence of such support, as well as the very loving and supportive family that I have around me, that helps me keep sight of the positives in life.