In September 2018 I was on top of the world.
I was beginning my Master’s Degree at Maynooth University and felt exactly where I needed to be.
If you ask me honestly am I the same person I was last September, the answer is no. No, I am not. What I am is stronger and braver than I have ever been, and I have my MS diagnosis to thank for that.
My journey began in November 2018. Continued slurred speech, muscle spasms and constant incoordination led me to finally see my GP who sent me straight to St. Vincent’s A&E. After a lengthy stay, several MRI’s, four lumbar puncture attempts and a half dozen tests I was released for Christmas and given the task of waiting for all my results to come back and be assessed.
Multiple Sclerosis was not an illness I was overly familiar with last year. After my first MRI in hospital I was told that they had found lesions on my brain and that was when multiple sclerosis was first mentioned.
I remember sitting across from my neurologist with my mother on my right-hand side. I remember watching his mouth tell me that I, at 22 years of age, had multiple sclerosis. I remember him explaining multiple sclerosis to me and what this would mean for me going forward. I remember my eyes filling with tears and my bewildered mother shaking her head in disbelief. I remember the moment I thought my world had changed.
Months have passed now since my diagnosis.
Achieving my goals
Obtaining an MA Degree was something I always wanted to achieve. Although this year has been filled with ups and downs, I did not want to give up that goal.
What people fail to understand about multiple sclerosis is the invisibility. You cannot see the everyday battles. You cannot see the struggles. All you see is someone like yourself and you begin to forget.
For anyone who gets an MS diagnosis it is so important that you do not let it stop you from achieving everything you always wanted to. Although it may take you some time, you can do it.
September 2019, I handed in my thesis for my Master’s Degree. Although MS can make life difficult, this does not mean you have to give up. You may no longer be the person you were before your diagnosis; you are a much stronger version of your old self.
My MS journey so far has taught me the value of life. It has taught me to be grateful for the good days which are rare and wonderful. It has taught me to be patient with my body when I struggle. It has taught me to be stronger than I ever knew I could be.
An MS diagnosis does not mean your life has to stop or mean that you must give up on your goals and dreams.
When you feel good, take advantage of it, embrace it. And remember when you are feeling bad, you are not alone.
Listen to your body.