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The impact of the pandemic on my MS

Claire Thackray

For many, the COVID-19 situation has created a knock-on effect for those receiving treatment and support for other health conditions like MS.

At the end of last year, both my neurologist and MS nurse moved onto pastures new. For the last decade, we had worked really well as a team. So I guess it was only natural to feel a little nervous as both of my healthcare professionals disembarked at the same metaphorical platform.

The plan had been for me to continue riding that figurative train to the next platform where I would meet my new neurologist and MS nurse.

However, none of us had anticipated the catastrophic pandemic, which at one point a few weeks ago, left me feeling like I was stuck on a runaway train.

Relapsing in a pandemic

Towards the end of February, I experienced a brand new relapse. This was the first one in years. My left leg had grown weaker and I was fizzing, banging and popping all over the place.

I set about eating a good diet, resting my body the best I could, and undertaking daily leg strengthening exercises. This part of dealing with the relapse was easy to manage, but I struggled to reduce my stress levels.

I was in the thick of moving house, my job was on the fritz and the 24/7 coverage of the Covid-19 crisis had left me feeling stupidly frazzled.

Losing MS support services to the crisis

The pandemic put a stop to me meeting my new neurologist on 6 April and the much anticipated phone call from him never arrived either. Given the situation, I decided to take charge of my health best I could so I organised my routine blood test.

A lovely nurse took my bloods in the beginning of May, but due to my absent neurologist and MS nurse, I’m still waiting on the results. All I need to know is my lymphocyte count and I will feel reassured that my body is still coping with my daily doses of Tecfidera.

On the up

That last relapse lasted about two months, but the brilliant news is that I am feeling much better. I guess that my new neurologist and MS nurse are really busy working elsewhere and that’s OK. I understand.

The pandemic may have put a stop to my MS support for now, but I've kept some notes to share with them when our time comes to check in with one another.

There must be better ways

I remain positive about my health but cannot help but feel frustrated that I am unable to access my own blood results online.

I guess, in time, that metaphorical train will roll up at the next platform and I will welcome aboard my new neurologist and MS with 'virtually' open arms!