Being diagnosed with MS at the age of 33 was a massive shock. After all those years of being ill with seemingly unconnected ailments, I finally knew why.
I was diagnosed in June 2015, totally out of the blue. My first symptoms were numb, prickly feet and numbness around my waist and pelvis. I knew very little about MS and there is no history of it in my family. I believe stress may have triggered it as I have always been a sensitive person and somewhat of a worrier, and I was working in a very stressful job at the time... but who knows!
Keeping busy at home
Since a recent stay in hospital for treatment for the condition, I have been stuck at home in self-enforced quarantine. The treatment I was given on the NHS is a new treatment called Lemtrada, and it involves shutting down the immune system and waiting for the body to rebuild it again over time. Having very little/no immune system and being unable to fight off any viruses or infections, I was advised to steer well clear of people and their germs for 6 to 8 weeks - so no public transport, no bars or restaurants, and very few visitors.
To stay sane and keep busy, I had to find things to do at home. I rediscovered my love for an old hobby: crafting. This really helped me to relax, take my mind off things, and generally chill out after a stressful few months. In a way, it is an alternative to meditating or reading as I find it just as relaxing. I thoroughly recommend doing crafts, painting or drawing to everyone as a way to de-stress.
Opening an online shop
The time spent at home recuperating and crafting has led me to open an online shop. In my shop, I'm selling the fruits of my efforts - handmade jewellery, plaques and artwork. The collection includes jewellery items incorporating pendants with the slogan 'Fight MS' on, and I am giving 20% of the profits from these to the MS Trust. This money goes towards helping people affected by MS, and training new nurses.
I am adamant that one day in the near future a cure for MS will be found. Let's hope so. In the meantime, we need to 'Fight MS', stay positive, and take each day as it comes, despite the hardships that come our way. If you would like to see my work, you can visit my shop on Etsy.