Before MS I...

This week from the MS & Me archives series Aoife Kirwan looks at life before her MS diagnosis.

Aoife Kirwan
17 Aug 2017

Before MS I really took my health for granted. I rarely went to the doctor. I was afraid of needles. I didn't think about what I ate or what time I ate it. I took little things for granted like ticking 'no' when asked if I had any known medical conditions. I guess I never really had to consider these things before and each first that came along really got to me. When shopping for car insurance after my diagnosis I wasn't able to get many quotes online because I had to tick 'yes' to the medical condition. There are more obstacles in the way... extra paperwork!

Before MS I thought I had all the time in the world to achieve life goals. Now I have to plan, I have to think ahead, I have to achieve goals in a shorter space of time. Life is harder, and I am harder on myself because of it.

Before it became apparent in me, I didn't think young people could 'get' it. I never thought that I would have all this on top of 'normal' life. Before MS I didn't see the injustice of our health system. I didn't know that people had to fight for treatments. I didn't know that your postal address determined what you were entitled to. I had no idea that life was made harder for those who it was already hard for.

Before MS I never questioned the opinion of a doctor, I trusted in them completely. I never thought that my opinion would factor into a medical decision. I never knew I would have the confidence in myself to make decisions that affect my health. Before MS I couldn't pronounce the word encephalomyelitis. I had never set foot inside a research lab but since my diagnosis I have travelled to the International Multiple Sclerosis Research Centre in New York, twice!

Before MS I never knew I would have such an interest in research and information and even more, sharing that. Before MS I did not know that the MS community was made up of very smart, wonderful and strong people.

Before MS I probably would have considered MS a weakness but now I know that having MS and carrying on with life as normal requires more strength than most people have. We don't always realize how strong we are until being strong is the only choice there is.