How poetry provides a release from my MS
I will never forget the day. I was completing an assignment for nutrition towards my degree in PE and Sport Science when the left side of my body went completely numb.
I didn’t understand what was going on with my body, but this wasn’t the first time that something like this had happened. I was 21.
Three years earlier, I had lost vision in my left eye and the sensation in my left arm and hand.
The doctors put this down to a stroke. They sent me for an MRI scan and saw I had a lesion and then pushed for me to have other tests done. One of which was on my heart.
I had heart surgery at 18
They found a hole, and so at 18 I had heart surgery and they sent me on my way without further testing.
Now it was happening again, I thought I was having another stroke. I rang 111 myself as I didn’t want to worry my then partner with it. But they sent an ambulance and I was taken to William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.
I stayed with my mum once I was discharged so she could care for me. That’s when I was taken into hospital again. I deteriorated, fatigue and pain took its toll and made my condition a lot worse.
I was moved to Eastbourne General Hospital and admitted into the stroke unit. I had a lumber puncture. This is when a needle is put into your spine, so a doctor can take a fluid sample to find out what is wrong with you. I also had another MRI scan. They suspected then that I had MS.
My whole world had turned upside down and I had no clue what my next move would be.
Diagnosed with MS
I was confused about what was going on with my body and to top it off I was scared. Although it felt like forever, three months later, I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS.
I lost a lot in the space of a year. My health declined and had to leave university. I lost the career path I had chosen, with it being so physical. I also lost someone I loved. My whole world had turned upside down and I had no clue what my next move would be.
Turning to poetry for relief
That’s when I began to write my thoughts and feelings down. It helped with the depression that I was experiencing and gave me some relief.
I naturally turned to poetry. I couldn’t even tell you why, I just did. I discovered a talent that I didn’t even know that I had.
MS has shown me a passion for writing that I may have never discovered.
MS has given me so much
One of my poems was read out to other people living with MS at a mindfulness group. The response I received was overwhelming. I was lifted up from that moment and knew it was a path that I had to at least try to pursue.
Writing is something I can do from the comfort of my own home, if and when I can and in my own time. MS may have taken a lot from me, but it has also given me so much too. I have fallen in love again with someone who loves and cares for me. It has shown me a passion for writing that I may have never discovered, if it wasn’t for the illness.
It has also shown me that you can never take anything or anyone for granted. It has shown me who my true friends are, who cares and how important family is to me. If it wasn’t for writing I don’t think I would be in the positive mindset that I am currently in.
Remember that with every raincloud the sun is waiting just behind it.
Here is one of my poems called Multiple Sclerosis.
“But you don’t look ill” is something I hear all to often,
With the naivety, I feel my body all but soften.
They don’t realise that they are seeing me at my best,
Because on my bad days all I can do is put my body to rest.
Most days I cannot move because of spasms and pain,
Having negative thoughts that I will never be normal again.
Numbness and tingling overtake my body each day,
Trying to live normally but without pacing I know I will pay.
Tormented with fatigue, loss of balance and coordination,
Trying to ignore dizziness, bad eyesight and the lack of sensation.
If you think it is all in my head, that is somewhat true
My MRI scans believe it or not, say it too
I have lesions on my brain and also my spine,
which causes disturbances in the neurological vine.
Triggers cause the immune system to attack the nerves,
MS really is a disease that no one deserves.
It can be an invisible illness for some of the community,
Not for all but as one we come under scrutiny.
It’s all there on paper, the tests do not lie,
Even the doctors can’t tell us how or even why.
The cause of MS is not truly known,
Only guesses and theories that are suggestively thrown.
The doctors and nurses are doing everything possible,
The work that they do is absolutely phenomenal.
Whether to make our lives more comfortable or to find a cure,
finding ways of slowing progression as we mature.
illness is hard physically, emotionally and mentally,
Just remember that you don’t have to look it to be it coincidentally
All I ask is for sensitivity and to think before you tell,
Replace “but you don’t look ill!” with a kind “you are looking well”.