Image: Emm and her wife pushing away a large coffee cup

4 reasons I'm giving up caffeine to Kiss Goodbye to MS

I’m Emm and I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS in 2011. I love tea – proper builder’s tea, hot and strong, milk no sugar.

But this May, I’m giving up caffeine to Kiss Goodbye to MS and my wife is giving up too. It will be tough, but we have four good reasons to stick with it. 

1. Because being diagnosed with MS can knock you for six

Before I was diagnosed, I’d had tingling in my back and legs on-and-off for about four years. I’d been told that it was various things, like a trapped nerve or carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Eventually a GP sent me to a neurologist and I had an MRI. When the neurologist told me it was MS, I was shocked. I think they thought I knew it was going to be MS, because MS was just dropped into the conversation. But I didn’t know anything about it.

I hadn’t brought anyone to the appointment with me. I was on my own and it knocked me for six.

2. Because MS affects your family and friends too

My family and friends were just as shocked by the diagnosis as I was. Luckily both my parents work in medicine, so they were able to give me a lot of practical support. 

My friends did a lot of research for me, because I knew if I looked on the internet, I could find out things I didn’t want to know. I told them ‘Just give me the headlines’.

I met my wife about a year after I was diagnosed. She’s been my rock. I told her about my MS on our first date and I was a bit scared she wouldn’t want a second date. But it’s never been a big issue for her. We joke all the time about MS things. It helps to have that humour. We promise to be honest with each other, so if I’m struggling or she’s struggling, we tell each other. MS is part of what we face together, but it’s not everything.

3. Because the MS Society’s been there for me

The MS Society has been a huge support since I was diagnosed. It was the first place I turned to for support. And it’s still the first place I go to when I want to look something up because I know the information is accurate and not scary. 

I’ve been a volunteer for the MS Society for a few years. It’s been a great way to meet people who understand. Now about a third of my closest friends have MS. It’s good to be able to talk to someone who ‘gets it’. 

4. Because you don’t have to be sporty to raise money for research

I’m taking part in Kiss Goodbye to MS because I love a fundraiser. It’s really important to raise money for research to improve treatments. 

I’m not a sporty person, so I couldn’t run a marathon. But this is something I can get involved with - anyone can give something up.

Click here to sign up to the campaign