Stuart Wood, from County Durham, is 53 and lives with secondary progressive MS. He features in our BBC Lifeline Appeal alongside his wife Sharon and daughter Lucy, who was diagnosed with MS when she was just 5-years-old. He told us about the impact our research has had on his quality of life.
I was diagnosed with MS in 1996, aged 27. At the time, I knew something wasn’t right because I was walking poorly.
I can get severe pains in my legs and my arms. I get really bad numbness in my legs. I’ve got dropped foot and no feeling at all in my right foot. On one hand, my fingers are curled and I get severe cramps in them too. It can be a real struggle in my daily life because sometimes the right-hand side of my body is totally lifeless.
How MS affects my bladder
One of the main symptoms I have is problems with bladder control. It’s a real worry and I’ve had many accidents with that.
The symptoms come on regularly and when I’ve got to go, I’ve got to go now.
It got to the point where it was a major issue. I was worried about going out and getting to the loo in time.
Botox for my bladder has made a big difference
Then I found out about Botox injections for MS on the MS Society website.
Thankfully, in part through research funded by the MS Society, I now go to a hospital to get Botox injections in my bladder.
I go every six months for that, a procedure in theatre. It’s 20 injections in my bladder and it’s dramatically helped me improve my quality of life. It’s helped my family when we go out anywhere. It’s affected me dramatically, mentally, and that’s a really, really good thing.
My daughter’s MS diagnosis was devastating
When Lucy was diagnosed with MS too it just hit us like a ton of bricks. It was devastating.
She’s 18 now and is on a disease modifying therapy (DMT) for her relapsing remitting MS. It’s working great for her and her MS is manageable at the moment.
She does suffer from fatigue. And out of the blue recently we found out she is partially sighted. We believe the damage was done when she first suffered from optic neuritis (an MS symptom) when she was three.
We believe MS research will stop MS
If it wasn’t for the MS Society funding research into drugs - Botox and many others - we wouldn’t be where we are now. As parents, we know MS will get stopped eventually. We’ve got to have faith and trust in the science behind it all.
We’d be lost without it, especially our family.
Watch and support our BBC Lifeline Appeal
Watch our appeal on BBC iPlayer for the next three weeks.