What is it that you struggle with?
I have multiple sclerosis (relapsing remitting). I struggle with the unpredictability of the condition. I have good days and bad days. My balance can be affected from time to time, with weakness on the left side of my body (arms and legs) which impacts on my ability to walk for short periods of time, along with slurred speech, loss of control of facial muscles and,pins and needles. Anxiety is a secondary condition associated with this autoimmune disease which occurs as a result of the unpredictability of MS.
How long has it been a problem for you?
I have been diagnosed for 12 months. However, the symptoms have been present for between five and eight years. I failed to recognise it as I dismissed the symptoms.
How does it affect your daily life?
When I have had a relapse, I have been unable to work for a month or so or care for myself and my three year old. I’m lucky I have such a supportive husband and I am also lucky I have periods of remission. Generally people with the remitting and relapsing form of MS have a major relapse every one to two years.
How do other people’s actions or opinions affect you and your condition?
My workplace is extremely supportive of my condition, which helps me effectively manage my condition, lifestyle and my role. I have found that I have to explain to people that MS affects people differently, therefore MS is not the same for everybody. MS can have many symptoms which can not be seen. The classic case was when I had to use a disabled parking space after a relapse and was having difficulty walking into the shopping and a member of public told me I shouldn’t be using the space as I didn’t have a disability.
How do you think the community can be better educated about this?
MS Australia do a great job. However, more awareness could be raised in the wider community by supporting the MS society through the Kiss MS away day, MS swimathon and MS readathon to raise awareness of this condition. There is no cure for MS and scientists still don’t know what causes it. MS is the most common neurological condition in young adults.