And what I’ve learned
In 2004 fear took over my life. This is when the first symptoms of MS began, and I had no idea what was happening to me. I went from a fit, active person to someone who could only walk a short distance, had difficulty driving, could no longer type with both hands and so many other things. Almost overnight.
The fear was intense, I suffered panic attacks, I cried a lot, lashed out at my husband and he at me. This was completely alien to me, we had been married for a long time and for the most part happily. Neither of us could understand why I kept falling over and had to rest for half an hour after my morning shower before I could get dressed!
I went to my GP. It took six months to get an appointment with a spinal surgeon, who sent me to a Neurologist. He told me I’d had a stroke!
After a hospital stay and every test known to man, waiting another four months to see the Neurologist again, I was then a ‘puzzle’.
Another stay in hospital, a visit to Queens Hospital in London, where some random doctor bashed me on the head several times with what looked like a tennis racket, still no answers!
After another four months waiting to see the neuro again, by which time he’d forgotten who I was. We told him we were going to live in France (see https://bellesdays.com/20/11/2019). He more or less said ‘have a nice life’ or words to that effect!
Whilst in France, I had two further MRI scans and, finally, after six years I was told that I had Primary Progressive MS. It came as a huge relief that I now knew what I was dealing with, and huge sadness because I knew that I would always have it.
I was in a wheelchair by this time anyway and I was getting used to the fact that I could no longer stand up.
Despite everything that has happened in the last 10 years since my diagnosis, here I am. I’m not saying that I’m not anxious, I am a lot of the time. You never come to terms with having everything taken away, but you learn to live with it, and to enjoy the new life you find yourself living.
I maintain my interests, reading, politics, food, I have taken online courses and learned (am still learning) to blog. Having MS in whatever form does not mean not having a meaningful life, just a different one.
We came home from France in 2016. It was quite a difficult decision but the right one. Life is too short to miss being around family and friends and watching your grandchildren grow up.
This is my story. It’s taken me 16 years to reach this point. Life is never simple. Everybody’s MS is different. I won’t say the fear has completely gone, I don’t think it ever will. People ask me why I’m always smiling. I say that I have two choices – I either do or I don’t. For me it’s not a difficult choice to make.