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Zoe 16 years old

What its like to be diagnosed with MS at 16 years-old

Carla Callaghan

Zoe is an 18-year-old student who is writing a blog series on what it was like to be diagnosed with MS at 16 when she was about to sit her exams.

In her first post, she talks about the uncertainty of having symptoms but not yet having a diagnosis.

Hello my name is Zoe, I am an 18-year-old who loves a bit of banter and just happens to have multiple sclerosis. I was diagnosed with the neurological condition aged 16.

I always felt like something wasn’t quite right with me, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. When I really started to notice significant changes was from when I was about 14.

I was experiencing sporadic tingling sensations, dizziness, nausea, migraines, confusion, mood swings as well as vision problems.

Unusual symptoms

I had these symptoms and others for years and thought I was going crazy. I felt like I was pathetic because I couldn’t do as much as others my age.

My mum and I went to my GP and I was officially put under investigation in 2014. My days as the human pin cushion had officially begun, they took blood, poked and prodded me in neurological tests and I had a few MRI scans too.

We were left in the dark about the results of my MRI and it wasn’t until months later over the Christmas holidays that things got worse. I was abruptly overcome with an aggressive dizziness on Boxing Day, I was also being violently being sick and kept falling over.

Off to A&E with my basin

My GP assessed me whilst I walked along the corridor to her office. I staggered from wall to wall and practically fell onto my mum and we were given an instant referral to A&E.

Off I went with my basin and mum in tow. You can imagine what A&E is like over the festivities – so we waited for ages. I had some tests done and was told to stay overnight. They did nothing, no other tests or any type of observation and then discharged me.

Yucky juice and the waiting game

I still felt unwell into the new year and couldn’t keep anything down, no food or liquids. I even had to have rehydration drink dioralyte – which I renamed diorash*te as it tastes horrible.

I didn’t know it then, but it would be another few weeks until I would finally find out going was going on….

Perhaps in some roundabout way it was almost a sense of relief being diagnosed with MS - although it was a bit like being labelled, like a tin of tomato soup.

Look out for part two of Zoe's blog series, when she talks about what it was like to finally get her diagnosis.