I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in 2010, after a particularly bad fall, and extreme feelings of right-sided muscle weakness.
I say my GP, who sent me for a CT scan, and based on the result of the scan, referred me to a neurologist, who sent me for an MRI scan. Then the neurologist, after looking at that scan was able to share the news — I had a chronic illness Multiple Sclerosis (MS), that would be with me for the rest of my life! Oh joy, not …
He didn’t put it like that, of course, and to be honest, I can’t really remember all he said, it was thirteen years ago, and quite a stressful time, after all. I think after hearing the news, I then went home with my husband, after making a further appointment to late see the neurologist to discuss medications to help slow the progress of the illness.
That second appointment was when I was introduced to my options, most of which involved sticking myself with needles, ouch! My options were needles daily, every other day, a few times a week, or once a week. I didn’t want to jab myself with any needles at all, but it seemed I had no other choices, so I said once a week please.
And so began my life on MS medications. That first one, Avonex, was OK, I learnt how to do the injections, and I usually did it without making too much of a bruise on my thigh (left or right leg, alternately week to week).
I wrote about this, with poetry, and was in fact the recipient of a grant to assist me in the writing of a poetry collection about it all, my early times with Multiple Sclerosis — The title of the book was ‘Mick, Jane and Me-Living Well With MS’ Mick was Mick the Stick, Jane was Jane the cane, and they were my needed companions, on or the other, for my first years after this diagnosis.
The photograph here is of that book I had published:
Doing these weekly injections was painful, but I was proud of myself for being able to do this. It meant I felt a bit flat the following day, as though I was coming down with a cold, and then after a few days I felt OK again, then coming up to the next injection day, I felt a bit tense again, but yeah, still OK, and proud of myself for being able to dfo something most junkies learn how to do, to get their kicks.