MS left me feeling sad and frustrated until my physio introduced me to wheelchair rugby.
The first sign of MS was when my face went numb. It happened back in 2010, on my way home from university. After a whirlwind of doctors, hospitals, MRI's and intense emotions, I was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS.
Balance and dizziness are two symptoms that have been part of my MS life since the beginning.
The balance problems started innocuously enough: a slight sensation of walking on large marshmallows and not being able to feel my feet touching the ground. Weird, but not completely worrisome. I could be tired, a bit worn out. Getting older?
Living with MS is never dull. As well as all the symptoms, which can change on a daily basis, it feels like I constantly have to explain myself. To make life easier, here are five things I would love people to understand about MS:
I have MS. I also love gardening. My top three tips for accessible gardening are:
1. Use pots and baskets
Put everything in pots and baskets so that you can easily reach them.
This year will mark five years since I was diagnosed with MS. During that time I’ve laughed, cried and been terrified. But here I am, ready to celebrate my fifth year with the illness, and despite everything I am happy.
As a kid living in Zimbabwe, I never understood my mother’s passion for gardening. My only interest in her flowers was to see if I could shoot the heads off her dahlias with my air-rifle! Sorry mum.
While waiting for furniture to arrive in our own first home, I thought the garden could do with some tidying. So I went to the local hardware store to buy the basics like a spade, rake and some hand tools.
I firmly believe that you can learn lessons from everything in life. In my twenties I pursued a career in stand up comedy. I had some success but in the end realised I just wasn't that funny.
I was awarded a Millennium Achievement Award to help me to bring more stand up to my hometown Barrow-in-Furness. I was successful in that, as a group of locals took part in a stand up course and were hilarious.
Speaking from experience, I can tell you that a physical disability can be a pain. But the devices available to help disabled people (like me) get around can have surprising benefits.
I’m a person with MS. Neurologists have no idea what causes MS, but they’re paid well because they know what they don’t know better than anyone else.
Have you just been diagnosed with MS? Are you wondering what happens now? I was diagnosed this January. Here is my three step guide to making your diagnosis a little easier to deal with…