I wrote this blog recently for shift.ms; a website for MSers by MSers. Getting loads of good feedback so thought I would post here too 🙂
I don’t know anyone with MS who could say it hasn’t changed their life. Be it good or bad. Every person who has MS has a different experience that’s why I love the analogy MS Snowflakes, we’re all on similar journeys but no two are the same. As I write, I’ve sat back and asked myself how has MS changed my life? There are many aspects of my life that I have had to change or alter slightly since diagnosis. For the most part each change has been small and really positive. I like to think that I was diagnosed with MS to encourage me to tighten a few screws in my brain that I just didn’t know were loose.
The first major alteration I had to make after diagnosis was a change in diet. I met with a neurologist a month after my MRI results came back indicative of MS. They wanted me to have a lumbar puncture before prescribing me with medication. The lumbar puncture was arranged for a few weeks after so I felt like I was in limbo until then as my symptoms had yet to subside. I had constant blurred vision and dizziness and every day my head felt like I was hungover. I met with a nutritionist who told me to cut back on salt, wheat and dairy. I made sure I went for daily walks despite my confidence in my own mobility being at an all time low. After a few weeks of increased exercise and eating healthier my symptoms slowly began to taper off. A few months later when the lumbar puncture results were relayed back to me I was prescribed Copaxone. I have been injecting 3 times a week and have injected approx. 250 times. I haven’t experienced a relapse to date, which I believe is down to the combination of a healthier lifestyle as well as the medication.
MS has given me an appreciation for life that I never would have had otherwise. I grew up in Dublin and the likelihood is that I will spend the rest of my life here. That thought used to disturb me. Now it excites me. I love my city. MS has given me a kick up the backside and said to me “this is your life, if you don’t like it change it and if you’re not going to change it embrace it”. I find myself noticing monuments, buildings and wildlife as if it’s the first time I’m seeing them. The world is an amazing place when you take the time to stop and look.
I started going to a monthly meet up group in Dublin’s city centre for other MSers. It’s good to meet people on the same boat even if your journey and destination is different. It’s not always the same people and it’s motivational hearing the different ways people have challenged themselves since their MS diagnosis. One told me of how MS helped them face their fear of public speaking while another studied comedy in order to use parts of their brain that is usually left idle.
MS has made me much more aware of my own body and mind as well as my surroundings. The first year was particularly challenging dealing with a lot of life changes and having to break the news to loved ones. Since then I’ve completed a degree, got married and in January I became a dad. MS has certainly been life changing but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.