Two years and counting
I write this on the traditional Glasgow Fair Monday holiday. It was the equivalent weekend two years ago that I found myself in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital with no idea of what was wrong and eventually was diagnosed as multiple sclerosis.
Prior to this I knew very little about MS.
Since then I have learned new words like “myelin sheath”, “demyelination” and that the holy grail of MS drug research is remyelination.
When I was first diagnosed, I Googled the condition, which is never a smart thing to do. Presented with images of wheelchairs and quite serious disability, I freaked out. Most of my interests involve sport so the thought that I could never do them again was my worst nightmare. The first few months were a roller coaster of emotions.
Stages of Grief
The five stages of grief are identified as
I do not think there was much bargaining (here doctor, make it better, it will be worth your while), but I can attest to the other four. Two years down the line, I have come to accept it and instead focus on adapting to this new normality.
From reading about other cases, I feel incredibly lucky. MS can progress very quickly from being active to being confined to a wheelchair within a year of diagnosis. That I am still able to exercise is something I am very grateful for, both physically and mentally.
After two years, I am still mobile and can do most things I could do before. I have pins and needles in my back and left leg all the time, although the severity varies from day to day. Beyond that, I do not have the typical MS symptoms of fatigue or vision issues.
Since the initial hospital visit, I have had two rounds of disease modifying treatment which hopefully will stop the condition progressing for several years.
The Glasgow Fair holiday will always act as a reminder of when my life changed. It took until now that it was not a reminder of what I lost. After two years it reminds me to be thankful for what I still have.