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Zoe 16 years old

What its like to be diagnosed with MS at 16 part two

Carla Callaghan

Zoe was just 16 when she was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS. In part two of her blog series, she talks about the journey to finally reaching a diagnosis.

After a period of being unwell and countless visits to the hospital, I returned to school. I am a stubborn, tough cookie and I wasn’t going to let my ill health get in the way.

However, it wasn’t a great start as my balance problems were still serious and led me to fall down the stairs at school. I really needed to know what was going on!

Click here to read part one of Zoe's blog

Reaching a diagnosis

That weekend I was watching Spiderman with my mum when my left hand started tingling and then progressed to numbness. It felt like electric wires sparking. It was off to A&E again in a bid to get more answers.

Some neurological tests revealed my results were not up to the standard they should be. I was also told that my previous MRI scans showed quite a bit of brain and spinal scarring.

In the wee hours of the morning, I was told I had MS. One of my first thoughts was: it’s like that show ‘16 and Pregnant’, but my life was ‘16 with MS’.

It was quite a low time but I still sang and joked my way through it – if not for myself but for my family.

In the hospital

I was kept in hospital for a week. The doctors put me on a high dose of steroids to help reduce the inflammation of the nerves caused by the MS.

I had lots of other tests and relished having visitors, but I didn’t want them to leave me alone. I kept myself busy by doing homework and studying - I even had my friends bring in my school work.

I remember joking during visual tests that I felt like Professor X from X-Men when he’s using his cerebro machine.

When I was released from hospital I had to wait a few months before being put on a disease modifying therapy (DMT) called tysabri.

There were new medications and a diagnosis to get used to, but I wasn’t going to take it lying down…

Zoe's third blog in the series will talk about what happened post diagnosis and how she is now getting on with enjoying life.