Having a chronic incurable illness like MS can be a lonely experience. As much as those who don't have it do their best to understand it, only other MSers will truly 'get it'. I was offered three sessions with a counsellor after I was diagnosed but I remember sitting and wondering what do say to this nice woman who doesn't have MS but is here to help me? Maybe I just wasn't ready, but I was curious to meet other people around the same age. To see how they were coping. I did eventually.
MS & Me
This week's MS and Me blog, Willeke tackles the subject of MS and Obesity:
Not words anyone above a certain weight wants to hear.
Including yours truly, especially when uttered by others who appear as fit as a fiddle, have an ideal weight and who are not on a long list of medicines.
I know. I've been there.
Once COVID-19 lockdown was over, I swore that I was going to get back into the swing of things and life on the Outside. All those months of tracksuit and facemask wearing were over! I had watched pretty much everything on Netflix. I did get a dose of the virus but thankfully, it wasn't as bad as I had feared. Lockdown had taken its toll in general though- both physically and mentally. I still can't say the words "home schooling" without shuddering.
Last week (Part I) Rosie Farrell wrote about changing how we view and talk about disability to bring change & acceptance as part of someone’s life experience. This acceptance is part of creating personal, societal and systemic change so accessibility & equality become basic standards in Irish society. Read on for Part II: Why are you still blocking our way to equality
My disability is not a tragedy and I am not a burden. I am not to be pitied and most of all I am not an inspiration just because I live with MS.
My MS and disability is just one part of who I am. It is part of my identity, just like gender, sexuality, race or religion may be part of yours. Yet society rarely sees it that way. And for a very long time I did not see it that way either.
I’ve lived with MS for almost a decade now and I’ve encountered numerous other people living with MS, most of whom have gone on to become very good friends of mine. One of the first topics of conversation between friends with MS is the initial diagnosis of their condition.
The when/where/how of their journey with MS. These stories can vary greatly depending on the stage of life, the family circumstances, and the financial circumstances of the person around the time that they were diagnosed.
I was diagnosed in October of 2016. The diagnosis changed me, it made me less confident, less self-assured, more self-conscious and very worried for my future. I didn’t feel like myself any more. I had always been very independent, I didn’t want MS to rob me of that. I wanted to be able to take care of my children, I wanted to be able to provide for them. I wanted my life to just stay the same. I didn’t realise back then that things would have to change to accommodate this new addition to our lives
When people are diagnosed with an illness or have mobility problems, they face a lot of firsts. The first time trying anything is rarely going to be easy and by the time the day comes around, the worry can be blown out of all proportion.
I like to think of myself as a ‘Neurologist’s Nightmare’ – a nurse by trade, with an interest in neurology and a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis to boot. I can nearly sense the dread before I open the clinic door. I come armed with questions – “But why?”, “But why not” and with new research articles, new treatment guidelines that I want to share and discuss. Education is empowerment – the more we know the more confident we can be in our disease management and in our own health care decisions.
I presume you are fed up hearing about the now, not so novel coronavirus. In fact, I am willing to bet that most of us stopped being cognitively inclined to remember which variant is currently travelling around the world at free will. 'Life with COVID-19' as the government now wants us to call the pandemic, has been a trial of mental and emotional gymnastics since the day Ireland was officially added to the global list of coronavirus-targets.
And 'life with' is simply exhausting.