I got my first MS symptoms at age 16 on a school trip to France.
At that time they gave me a ‘probable’ diagnosis because of my age, so I wasn’t offered any treatment. I started taking a DMT eight years later, at age 24, when I was properly diagnosed and offered treatment.
Deciding about treatment
That day I went home with an information leaflet on treatments. My neurologist said to me “if you want to find out more, or if you have any questions, contact your MS nurse”.
So I eventually did. I spoke to her about my diagnosis and the treatments, and decided which one I was going to take, although I’ve changed DMT since then.
Why take a DMT?
When I looked into whether to go on treatment or not, I was thinking: would it stop relapses? Would it prevent disability? Would it impact my life that much?
I thought that if I could have a third less relapses and get to live my life longer without a disability, then it would probably be worth having to take some form of treatment on a daily or weekly basis.
At first I went on an injection, but now I take tablets on a daily basis. They don’t impact my life that much. I take them twice a day, after meals. I felt like the injectable was sort of like “you’re taking this for MS”. Whereas with the tablet, it’s like taking a vitamin in the morning so you don’t really think about it. I didn’t really have that many side effects when I started. I got hot flushes and itchiness but those subsided after a week or two.
So far, out of all the treatments I’ve taken, this one has the best side effects. It fits in much better with my life and I’m not having to deal with additional side effects.
Relapses and lesions
I don’t think I know if they’re really working. It’s not like I see it as a ‘wonder drug’. But since I’ve been taking my tablets, I haven’t had a relapse and I haven’t noticed differences in my symptoms. I had issues trying to see my neurologist over a couple of years but I finally got to see them last year and had an MRI scan. I didn’t have any new lesions so that could be an indication that my DMT is working.
But I really take the tablets because it’s better than not taking anything at all – which you know isn’t going to make a difference. I guess I’m a ‘trier’ so this is me trying to make my life better, instead of not doing anything.