On The Day They Cure MS, I’ll...

Niall McGahon talks life with MS, what the futures holds for him and one day finding a cure.

On the day they cure MS, I’ll be so happy for the thousands of people that will not have to suffer the physical and mental deviousness of this disease. From the medical perspective, advancements in recent years have helped to improve the health and well-being of thousands of people living with the condition.

I’m a positive person but I’m also a realist. Like other families of diseases there may be areas that can be managed or in some few cases even cured. I think, for the foreseeable future, MS is a disease that will be managed rather than cured. There have been a lot of smart people working tirelessly and researching many diseases for years of their careers. For MS alone, these years of research have transformed the understanding of how MS progresses. So much so we can look forward to a future where people can live free from the effects of the disease and maybe even stop it from getting any worse.

I have seen the impact myself in what these drugs can and don’t do. It has been several years since the “MS Fog” has impacted me. I am very lucky to have the clarity of thought and process that the “fog” can take away. I don’t have the real fear of my bladder releasing at any given and awkward moment. I’m not lying in bed at night scratching my skin red raw from nerve irritation that can never be soothed

Physically however, I’m not the person I used to be. No two shoes are the same anymore. There’s a distinct flat spot or mark on all the right feet. Drop foot and a dragging leg impacts massively on what I used to do. Golf has all but gone, I’m kicking football with the left leg hoping that my balance holds. Walking is a new challenge both in and out of the house.

From what I’ve been told with the damage done over the last 5 years, physically I am unlikely to regain the function that was there before MS. Of anything relating to this disease, this is the toughest to get my head around. What can I do? MS sucks, it’s debilitating in a broad range of ways. But this is my life now, I know what I need to do. If I stopped mentally, that could cause me untold damage that I don’t want to think about.

I also need a kick up the arse (!). I need to exercise more, I need to follow my diet, properly. I need to practice more mindfulness to allow my body to calm down from the daily impact of life. Doing these things won’t bring me closer to solving the mystery of the disease, but these small improvements will make my life more manageable.

We live in hope for MS survivors that the future holds a cure that can save a lot of people a lot of hurt in the years to come. The sooner the better.

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