Having people to talk to made all the difference

My name is Juanita, I live in Enfield and I’ve been diagnosed with MS since 2000.

When I was first diagnosed I felt like I’d lost a lot. Finding people to talk to motivated me and helped me find myself again.

Easier to make excuses than face the truth

I used to be a carer and looked after a woman with MS. I helped her wash, and get clean. But I never thought to investigate what MS was.

Then one day I couldn’t do my buttons, I couldn’t do up zips. I used to drop things without knowing it, as my hand was in the same shape as if I was still holding them.

I made up excuses. Everybody makes excuses. Mine was that people were walking into me and bumping things out of my hand.

But after a series of tests, the doctor said ‘there’s a one in a million chance we’re going to diagnose you with MS’. And in due course, they did.

Practice and positivity

MS meant I couldn’t carry on with work anymore, because I couldn’t move properly. 

I used to sit inside thinking “I can’t work, but I can’t do this”. I looked at people walking about outside and thought “I’ve got to get out”.

I went along to my MS Society Local Group to get to know other people with a diagnosis.

Being surrounded by positive people motivated me. Just because you’re disabled doesn't mean you can't still do things.

I found it difficult to write with my right hand because it tremored too much. But then I thought “I was blessed with two hands, try and use your left hand.” So now I use my left hand. It’s not perfect but I’m getting there with practice.

The MS Society got me back on the road

In the early days I didn’t know the MS Society could help with grants and things. They helped me get my car when I was first diagnosed.

And when I need information about my health, or someone else’s, I can always ring them.

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Photo: woman with MS in wheelchair with young children