My name is Jon Makin, I work as Lead Trade Manager for Tesco in Cullompton in Devon. I have signed up to take part in the MS Trust's Survival Skills Weekend challenge in June and have set myself the target of raising £8,000. All the stores on my group, from Devon through Somerset and up to Bristol, will be holding collections on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th of January.
Out of the blue
I was diagnosed with MS in 2009 when I was 38 years old. It all came out of the blue for me, I was working as a store manager for Tesco at the time. I had been to a meeting in the morning and was experiencing strange sensations in my right arm and leg. Tightness, numbness and pins and needles, it felt almost like wearing tight clothing. I was taken into hospital and spent two days there having numerous tests, MRI scans and the dreaded lumbar puncture!
The results suggested MS and I left the hospital still not quite sure what was wrong. Over the following few days things seemed to progress as the whole of my right side went numb, I had weakness in my arm and my leg was dragging. At this point I also had my driving license withdrawn by my GP. I felt so trapped, angry and frustrated. Things like this don't happen to me!
Amazing support from my MS nurse
During this time I had an appointment with an MS specialist nurse. The support she gave me was amazing. She was able to help me address some of my burning issues, my frustrations and answer all my questions. I got all the information I needed from her and she pointed me in the right directions to find out more. The information I obtained from charities like the MS Trust was fantastic.
I had a choice of three disease modifying drugs which I could take to help reduce relapses. I opted for Rebif and I administered my first injection at home with a nurse. I took the jab at 2pm and by 6pm I was shaking uncontrollably and suffering bad flu-like symptoms. I was advised that I may have the symptoms with this drug for 6 months until my body got used to it. Try 3 years! I never got used to it and resented every jab. I now take Gilenya, a tablet which I take daily and have no side effects.
My MS has generally left me alone of late which I'm thankful for. I have a lot of memory issues and have to write everything down. Fatigue can also get the better of me, there's no point trying to fight through it, sometimes you just have to go with what your body is telling you. I do what I can to look after myself - I've given up smoking, hardly touch a drop of alcohol and eat more healthily. I go the gym when I can to try and maintain a good degree of fitness. My biggest vice is coffee!
A real game changer
It's very scary when you get diagnosed with something like MS and it can be a real game changer. I've had to make adjustments in my life to help me deal with it as I guess many people do. Without the support from charities like the MS Trust, my MS nurses and my neurologists I think I'd have been a right mess.
MS is a horrible disease that many have to live with, but I've got the opportunity now to give something back to one of the charities that has helped me from the point of diagnosis. The money we raise will help provide people like me with the support and information that's so needed.