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Getting to know my MS

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Heather and her brother Chris

In the face of a recent MS diagnosis, Heather Alden is focussing on something she enjoys: running.

Heather tells us below how she and her family are dealing with her diagnosis and why she has decided to take on a half marathon to raise funds for the MS Trust.

Around my 38th birthday I decided that I wanted to get 'fit for forty'! At that stage I obviously wasn't expecting to hit my forties with life changing information, but a week before the big Four-O I got a call from my doctor to say that an MRI scan I'd had the week before showed I probably had MS, either that or something similar.

Lots of tests and appointments followed and the MS diagnosis was confirmed earlier this year. I immediately thought I was destined for a wheelchair, that's how little I knew about MS. Six months on I don't pretend to know all about it, but I now know that thankfully this is not necessarily the case. Everyone's MS is different so I am currently just trying to get to know mine... it's not easy.

Telling the kids

Before the diagnosis I had spoken briefly to my children (aged 9, 8 and 5) about mummy's tingly fingers so naturally they wanted to know whether the doctor was going to make me better. I didn't realise from the outset that I would have to talk to them about something that was currently incurable. My positive side had been telling me it was a trapped nerve. 

Trying to gently explain the situation to them without showing my fear was one of the hardest things I've ever done. We have recently accessed some publications from the MS Trust which are aimed at explaining the disease to children, and these books are proving so helpful - for them and me!

Taking on a challenge

Instead of dwelling on my diagnosis I quickly decided to use my rekindled enjoyment of running to support a charity that has suddenly become an integral part of my life, and to run the 2017 Bath Half Marathon with my brother Chris to raise funds for the MS Trust.

I've been completely overwhelmed by the support I've received so far from friends and family, and I am so grateful to everyone for their sponsorship. Even the smallest amount helps. As well as providing information about MS, the MS Trust trains all new MS nurses (the only charity that does), supports all MS health professionals, and campaigns for good quality local MS services for everyone in the UK.