Andy Walsh

MS community member Andy Walsh shares a little of his life with MS with us as part of the #IaMSomeone campaign to mark World MS Day.

“I use the phrase ‘mixed blessing’ to describe my Multiple Sclerosis, because I have changed and improved my lifestyle massively since my diagnosis and I count myself lucky to be able reframe the priorities in my life.

I was diagnosed by accident if you like; difficulties while walking led to an MRI to see if I had an issue with a slipped disc but when a day appointment for a MRI lead to a week-long stay in hospital which consisted of more MRI’s and numerous other tests, I left the hospital with a diagnosis of RRMS.

But it was about a month after returning home from the hospital that a flare up left me with no power on my right side from chest down and unable to walk properly, resulting in me struggling to come to terms with what had actually happened, I had gone from being actively involved in coaching roles in my local GAA & soccer clubs, and a weekend media job reporting at stage ends at Motorsport events up and down Ireland to now, being unable to negotiate my way across my kitchen unaided.”

I didn’t know anything substantial about MS when I first started my journey and I struggled to find anyone to dismiss the image I had of myself in a wheelchair, all I wanted was hope – examples of people who were getting on and living their best life!

However, it turns out there is a whole community out there of people with MS doing amazing things. I was lucky enough to connect with MS Ireland and utilise the information on offer to help me make the life changes necessary to allow me to live well with this.

I am currently on a fantastic treatment plan, and coupled with a work-life balance, that prior to diagnosis was pretty hectic, but there’s a whole new structure now with a renewed focus on what’s really important.

I can confidently say that through the lifestyle changes I’ve made to live with MS, I am physically, mentally, and emotionally healthier now than I was before. Sounds counter-intuitive, but I am an improved version of me because of it.” – Andy Walsh