When I sat down to write a blog post introducing myself to readers of MS & Me, I was a bit stumped at first, and didn't know where to start.
I live in north Donegal with my husband; we moved back here to my home town a couple of years ago, after more than a decade in Dublin. We live in the sprawling countryside, a big change from our old surroundings. I get to work from home now, looking out at fields and hills, which I love. Technology means I can do my job anywhere, but still be connected to my office in Dublin. In the evenings, I am usually working on crafts, or catching up with friends on the web. If I can be convinced to get off the sofa, we'll go for a walk at the beach, but I usually need a lot of encouragement!
Day to day life here is pretty, well, normal... I wasn't sure who would want to read about it.
Then I thought a bit more about it. Telling people about my “normal” life is probably one of the most positive things I can do, both for people with MS and their family and friends who want to learn more about it.
Being diagnosed in 2010 was a shock. Although I’d not been well for a while, with symptoms I now know were a relapse, MS had never crossed my mind. Before then, I’d associated MS with older people. I thought it meant wheelchairs and walking sticks, and having to give up the normal day-to-day activities people take for granted.
When you first hear those words... you have Multiple Sclerosis... a lot of thoughts, emotions and fears go through your mind. I was only 29, I was just setting out in life, and now was it going to be curtailed? Thankfully, I learned that it didn’t have to mean that, through talking to others my age and researching it online. While I was still facing a somewhat uncertain future, I realised that I could manage my illness and continue to live my life.
It was a slow process to start with; it took 8 months to find a drug that worked for me. Then I had to get used to taking it, and for it to get to work. I had to get used to the symptoms that I still have most days.
Now, three years on, my life is normal. It’s a new normal; I’ve had to adapt my life to make allowances for MS. If I am having a bad day, I’ll be wobbly on my feet or unable to use my hands properly. I’ve had to learn to be patient, and to not get frustrated when I can’t do something. It’s not always easy; I am not a patient person.
Having MS hasn’t stopped me doing most things I want to do, although I might have to do some a different way. Everyone’s MS is unique to them; I know I am fortunate that mine is manageable. I hope that by sharing our experiences and thoughts via MS & Me, we can support and reassure other people who are going through it too.
Thanks for reading my blog