All anyone can talk about at the moment is the new coronavirus (COVID-19) and lots of people are scared about what it means for them.
For anyone missing the pub
But it isn’t just the risk of getting the virus that’s causing alarm. Or being afraid to leave your house and being surrounded by people who could pass it on. As someone with MS, there’s so many other things to think about.
More than 130,000 of us live with MS in the UK and loneliness and isolation are already a huge problem for many of us. It affects three in five people with MS. For anyone already missing the pub, some of us have been told we should self-isolate for up to 12 weeks.
As well as the obvious social disadvantage, not being able to see friends and family could make daily living itself impossible. Many of us rely on others to provide extra support for daily tasks.
Toilet paper vs. treatment
One major thing people with MS are facing, due to coronavirus, is their treatment being postponed. For everyone worried about the great toilet paper shortage, I hope this puts things in perspective!
At the beginning of April this year, I was due to have an infusion of an immunosuppressant treatment called alemtuzumab. Unfortunately, as it works by wiping out white blood cells it could put me at a greater risk of contracting the virus, and also less able to fight it off if I did get it.
I’m told that postponing my treatment for a few months is unlikely to cause any problems or future progression. But what happens if it goes on much longer, I don’t know.
The impact this has had on my mental health has been tough. I’m very anxious that the halt on my treatment could cause my condition to progress sooner, and also potential relapses. These worries are of course causing a lot of stress, which can make MS worse.
Staying up to date with the latest advice
Whether I have it or not, coronavirus is already making life quite difficult. I don’t know what to do or what is going to happen, or how soon things might get better.
My partner continues to go to work, but we are taking extra precautions, as advised by healthcare professionals. While out at work he washes his hands regularly, has hand sanitizer on him at all times, and tries to distance himself from others. When he gets home he sticks his clothes straight in the washing machine and has a shower.
I’ve stocked up on disinfectant and am keeping updated with the latest advice. Every day we will follow new guidelines and take each day as it comes until told otherwise.
At this time, I think that's all we can do.