Why I signed up to the MS Walk after my diagnosis

Thu 17 November 2022

I’m Eliza, I’m 27 years old. At the age of 26 after many years of suffering, I was diagnosed with highly active relapsing remitting MS, with lesions mostly in my spine.

I’ve had many MS symptoms ever since I was a teenager, and I was only going downhill. I was under a lot of different doctors and hospitals all of my teenage and younger adult life. I kept being told ‘you’re OK, your blood test has come back fine.’ My aunt and cousin both have MS. Never did I think I’d end up with it.

My MS diagnosis

It wasn’t until I was in so much pain from walking that I was finally taken seriously. For over 6 months my entire body was numb and felt inflamed. I went for an MRI scan of just my spinal cord. They found lesions and I was sent to a neurologist.

At the first appointment, she admitted me to hospital the following day. It took 2 weeks for more spine and brain MRI scans, lumbar puncture, CT scans, tons of blood taken and a round of 5-day intravenous steroid treatment. Then I was allowed home.

Read more about how MS is diagnosed

My lesions affect my spine more than my brain (I only have a few on my brain). So I was told that they were more in keeping with NMO – neuromyelitis optica. My lumbar puncture results came back negative for NMO and I was sent to the Royal London Hospital. Within a week I was given the news it was highly active relapsing remitting MS, with my spine affected most.

I was advised to have the flu jab, pneumonia jab and the COVID-19 booster before I started my treatment as it’s an immunosuppressant. Then I started my disease modifying therapy (DMT) Ocrevus (ocrelizumab).

Signing up to MS Walk to give back

I signed up to the MS Walk London pretty early on in my MS diagnosis, a time when my MS wasn’t ‘stable’. A time when I was so uncertain about my future. A time when my mind was so fixated on where I might end up. Wallowing in self-pity. I felt alone and isolated.

I started to do more research and turned to the MS Society. From the day of my diagnosis I spent hours googling multiple sclerosis and the DMTs. I found myself on the MS Society website every single time. The information is factual and put my mind at ease.

After I delved deeper I found there’s so many events right on my doorstep where I can meet many other fellow MSers. So I wanted to give something back to help the MS community.

Don’t get me wrong, where my lesions are placed in my spinal cord it affects my walking massively. So I thought, why not push myself? I have no shame in saying I used walking aids to help complete my walk.

I walked 20km at MS Walk London

This was daunting as I didn’t know how my body would react. But on the day I was able to complete the walk, along with the other amazing fundraisers and volunteers.

To walk around London and see the sights while raising money for MS Society was such an achievement for everyone involved. And for me personally. It was a great day and I had the opportunity to speak to a lot of different people affected by MS. We shared stories and I heard about their views on MS.

I will definitely be taking part in MS walks in the future. Next time I’ll be bringing as many of my friends and family as possible with me.

If you’ve ever thought of taking part in the MS London walk, I’d say do it! It doesn’t matter how you make it over the line, giving it a try is all that counts.

Sign up for an MS Walk in 2023