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I thought the drugs were toxic

Kirsty Stevens

My name is Kirsty. I live in Falkland in Fife in Scotland and I was diagnosed with MS in 2007.

Before I was diagnosed, I had a ‘normal’ life as a student. A messy student life! I went out partying all the time… and studied of course. I studied jewellery and metal design at Art school in Dundee. I was in my third year when I was diagnosed.

Toxic drugs? How can that help?

I was first offered treatment a few months after diagnosis. I didn’t want to go on any medication because I’d read they had really bad side effects and were really toxic. And it just made me think ‘how can that help?’.

And at that point the only available drugs were injections and I’m not a fan of needles. I went without treatment for about three years – I’m annoyed I waited so long but hindsight’s a nightmare.

I’d been feeling so well for so long, and then I got a relapse. The relapse really scared me because it was all the nerves in my face twitching. I realised this is a real thing, I could keep on getting worse and worse so I thought ‘give me anything that can help me’.

Facing my phobia

When I first started injecting, I kept on getting ready to inject and then the pen made such a loud click that I’d pull it away and it would spray everywhere. I thought I’d never be able to do it! But I got over that. It sometimes hurts for a couple of seconds, but if it’s going to help me for the rest of my life, a couple of seconds of pain is fine.

I inject three times a week - on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, so I get the weekend off. I have to keep it refrigerated and then I try to take it out at least an hour before I inject because it hurts less when it’s not chilled. So it’s just sitting in my fridge beside the milk!

Coming to terms with MS

After I got the diagnosis, I went back to uni and told them I had MS, and they told me to take a year out. I was dead against it because I wanted to graduate with all my friends, but it was the best thing I did.

I came to terms with my diagnosis and learnt a lot about the condition. I learnt I could live with it, and also that it was so misunderstood or not even known by so many people. So that inspired me to go back to uni and use it as a focus of my work!

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