Louise's blog - the magical MS tour

"Congratulations! You have won an exciting opportunity to take a journey on the Magical MS Tour! The tour, which begins in Dubai, takes in all the sights and sounds, trials and tribulations of living with MS overseas. Tours include appointments with Dr Neurology, MRIs, medications, emotional ups and downs, and of course that firm favourite: symptoms. Although living with MS can be tough, this tour hopes to look at things from a personal perspective, and if we have a few laughs along the way, all the better.

Your tour guide on this magical MS tour is me, Louise, a married, 40 year old mum of two, living as an expat in Dubai. I was diagnosed in 2009 with relapsing/remitting MS after a single episode and I have just come through my second one (more on that in a moment). For me, the relapses manifest themselves as dizzy spells and for a while I become (literally) a dizzy blonde.

So, our tour this week stops at my second MS relapse. The relapse was relatively mild, and began with a little dizziness but unfortunately, my sense of taste and sensation in my palette went with it, and a course of steroids soon became inevitable. The battle this time was quickly over, and I sit licking my wounds for a second time. The only real casualty of this battle was someone who I thought was a true friend, the battle revealing, regrettably, that she was in fact only a fair-weather friend.

Another friend recently told me that she considers friendship to be a sacred thing, and no truer maxim could be applied here in Dubai. Dubai has a reputation for being an unfriendly place, and I have to admit that in the chaos of rumours about this place, this one is true. Friendships here are difficult to make and even more difficult to keep. Many people here are not so much escaping to live in the sun, but actively running away from a life somewhere else. This makes for private people. Add to that the fact that Dubai is a place of transition, where friends leave suddenly for a life elsewhere and you are entering a world where once you make a friend, you cling to them for dear life.

To make friends here you have to sift through many people to find someone ‘normal’.  I thought this was what I had done: found a true friend, but after my second MS relapse I became a ‘needy’ friend, and apparently this is a step too far in her definition of friendship. And so, I move on. A lesson learned, the hard way.

So, I hope you will join me again on my tour. I have a meeting with Dr Neurology next week to discuss the new Fingolimod drug, so watch this space!"

Louise was diagnosed in 2009 and blogs at www.louisesvoice.blogspot.com

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I don't normally read other people's stories but something in the above really rung true with me.

I've been diagnosed since 2005 with RRMS. I had a baby last year and since the delivery I was relapsing and deteriorated, needing a lot of support fromo friends and family.

Someone who I considered to be a very true friend turned out not to be as suddenly a couple of weeks ago she sent me a text out of the blue dropping me as a friend as we had 'too many differences' and she couldn't stay friends with me any longer. Er, hello? Are we back in the school playground??

I, too have learned a lesson - keep your friends close but your enemies closer!! :o)

Maybe our so called friends are just scared. I don't know but this has happened to me also not only with friends but family. I don't ever want to ask for help or tell anyone how really horrible I feel because I think I will scare them away or bore them away or make them uncomfortable to the point of avoiding me. It's not right or fair but that's the way it is.

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