I had recently given birth to my second child when I was diagnosed with MS. It couldn’t have come at a worse time. My two-year-old had been in and out of the hospital due to her asthma and allergies, and there were a lot of personal issues I was dealing with at home.
My first thought was that I would end up in a wheelchair. I had heard about MS through the Readathons I participated in as a child, but I didn’t know much about the condition itself.
What I learnt was that with MS, you can never be sure of what’s coming next. You don’t necessarily know what you’re dealing with short or long-term, you have to make considerable changes to your life, and some days are better than others.
My children were always on my mind. I wondered how I was going to manage raising them while dealing with my MS symptoms. I worried about not being able to be the type of mother I had always wanted to be. Becoming a single mother when the children were four and two didn’t help either.
As a fiercely independent person, it was hard for me to have to learn to ask for help. But I realised that it was important to put myself first as I couldn’t look after the children if I wasn’t well.
It's been 15 years since my diagnosis and I’ve accepted that there are going to be some things I can’t change or control. I simply do everything I can when I’m well and I am realistic when I’m not feeling a 100 percent. I am so lucky to have a mother and family who are there to help.
Fatigue remains my biggest challenge and other symptoms like weakness and numbness in my legs also meant that I had to give up playing tennis for many years – a sport I loved.
MSWA were a huge source of support when I was first diagnosed. The early days of living with MS had a big impact on my daily life, and took a little while to get used to. I joined a peer support group and knowing I always had access to nurses or other support staff to answer questions about my medication, or any other matter, was very comforting.
Every lottery ticket you purchase means that MSWA is able to continue to provide services and support to people living with MS and fund research into a cause, better treatments and a cure for MS.
In the years since I’ve been diagnosed, medications have changed significantly and has allowed me to live a better life and be the mother I always wanted to be. I’ve also been able to return to playing competitive tennis again. The physical activity, being active and out and about has been fantastic for my mental state.
MS is a part of me, but it does not define who I am. It’s my dream that one day they invent medication that can reverse the damage caused by MS. Your support means that my dreams could come true.