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Monday 15 August 2011

How do you deal with life shattering news, you have MS?

Someone asked me the other day how I felt when I received the life shattering news that I had been diagnosed with MS, so I thought I’d share my thoughts and feelings so for those of you who are newly diagnosed know that you’re not alone even though you may feel like it, and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Now I’m not a doctor nor am I claiming to be any sort of expert this is purely my feeling and thoughts after I felt my life had been turned upside down!
My first major attack occurred when my daughter was approximately 18 months old. I wasn’t exactly sure what was happening to me at first I can only describe it as a very strange sensation in my right arm. Now any may think my reaction was a little odd in that for some strange reason I couldn’t stop laughing about it. I went to see my GP expecting him to say it was some sort of trapped nerve, here’s some tablets and see how you go! To my horror after a couple of simple reflex tests he told me that he suspected I’d had a stroke and to go straight to A&E at my local hospital. The simple thought that I’d had something a serious as a stroke at the age of 25 was incomprehensible. I spent 4 days in hospital undergoing numerous tests, MRI scans etc. By this stage I had lost the full use of my right arm. It was as dead as a dodo! The consultant confirmed that I definitely hadn’t had a stroke but she had her suspicions as to what was causing the lack of movement in my arm. When I pressed her to answer what she thought it was she advised me that I had a large area of inflammation of the nerve fibres in my brain, something which was more commonly known as Multiple Sclerosis. I just burst into tears, to this day I have no idea why as at that stage I had absolutely no idea what MS was. I’d heard of it, I’d never met anyone that had it before; I had no idea what it meant for me! All I could think about was why was this happening to me?
The consultant had advised me that there was plenty of information around about MS and I would be referred to a dedicated MS nurse who would be there to give me any information I needed and I could call if I had any questions. She advised me not to look on the internet as I would probably scare myself.
I remember for weeks I used to sit at home and cry, frustrated by the fact I could no longer do simple things like dry my hair or fill a pan with water to cook tea. I tried to teach my then fiancé how to blow dry my hair thinking that any sort of style would be better than nothing. He tried his hardest but I think he found it hard to deal with.  I used to just sit and cry in front of the mirror. I felt like I had become this completely different person over night because my body wasn’t doing the things I wanted it to. I didn’t want to be this other person any more I wanted to be me! I didn’t want this damaged body I wanted my fully functional one back.
It took a while to get over the tears and frustration, and with a lot of support from my family, I became determined not to let my dysfunctional body stop me continuing my life. I lived with constant worry that my fate lay in the arms of a wheel chair. Someone told me not to let MS take control of your life but for me to take control of my MS. Since then I have tried to live my life as normal as possible. Although I think in some respects I have let it take control of my life in that I probably would have had another child by now, but because of the uncertainty of the disease and medication I have put off having any more children till now. I have now decided to take the bull by the horns and get on with my life! I refuse to let this disease control any part of my life anymore!

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