In recognition of MS Awareness week we would like to share two stories written by inspirational people living with MS.
Viv was diagnosed with MS in 2011, this is the story of Viv’s experiences in her own words.
In 2011 I working as a full-time chef and loving life, I wanted to be a chef until I was 80. I had two really bad falls and went to my doctor and he said ‘it’s not me you need to see, but I will see what I can do’. I was sent to a specialist where I was asked to perform a series of tests, which I was unable to do. Around this time the MS word kept coming up, not directly to me but it was mentioned several times. From here I was sent for an MRI scan and was given a large dose of steroids which made me feel as if I could climb Everest with no oxygen, life back to normal I thought.
After having a lumbar puncture the specialist said to me ‘I’m very sorry, you have Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis, I knew the implications as my uncle had the condition. I had to have my right knee replaced soon after and needed six months off work. I could no longer work around hot pots and sharp knives so I had to get out of the kitchen. Sunrise of Fleet, where I had been a chef, were kind enough to offer me a position as an activities assistant on a part time basis and they are still stuck with me! I love what I do and I’m very grateful for the inspiration I have around me in family and friends.
I have MS but this doesn’t mean I am useless and it won’t define me. I may never beat MS but I will give it a run for its money. In November of last year my diagnosis changed to Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, I’ve accepted my condition but I still fight it. I feel lucky to have been diagnosed later in life, as I know some people are diagnosed much earlier. When my uncle left hospital after his MS diagnosis he was given cod liver oil tablets as there was so little treatment available to him. Research has come such a long way since then. I’m thankful for the things I have in life, not the things I don’t.
Viv has recently supported MS Research by shaving her head, if you would like to support Viv please visit her Just Giving Page here.
My name is Sanjeev Shetty and I have Multiple Sclerosis.
I suspect everyone has a few life-changing moments. I’d say probably five. One of those came for me on the 30th of January 2004. I was sat in the office of a professor of neurology, who had very calmly just told me that I had multiple sclerosis. If I had known anything about the condition, the warning signs were there. The strange sensations in my legs, the occasionally uncontrollable bladder, the sudden need to sit down because of intense fatigue, speech issues and a year when I couldn’t swallow properly. But why would anyone ever think to investigate further when the symptoms are so random and its an illness that no one talks about.
My first reaction was to ask if it was life threatening. “Not exactly” came the reply. I suspected human interaction wasn’t his strong part because pretty soon he was ushering me out of his office, telling me there was plenty of information about the illness on the internet. By the way, there wasn’t.
At the time of my diagnosis, I had a noisy three-month old son and a wife who just lost her beloved sister. I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself, something I’ve never regretted. MS is so many things and it is specific to everyone who has it. My neighbour has it and she says it’s the fatigue that gets her. I hate the way my body won’t do what I ask from it. I used to play golf twice a week. Now I haven’t hit a ball in anger for five years. I used to run a few miles here and there. Now I do a slow jog for the tram.
But that’s the deal with MS.
I knew from reading about it (from those book things) that there was no cure. Just treatments, which I haven’t really tried. I take a statin every night and pile up on as many vitamins as I can. I don’t drink that much in the way of alcohol, have finally kicked the fags on the head and try to spend as much time as possible with my family (wife, two teenage sons and a small cat). And I’m still here.
In fact, this is what I’ve done since the diagnosis. Continued working for the BBC. Presented the sport on three different channels. Taught at a university. Written four books and now launched my own podcast about MS and its unique journey. I’m not superman, just a guy trying to do his best. Making sure my family are loved and secure. Do I have dark moments? Yes – but that’s what they are, moments. I do fall down a lot – but I get up every time. I’ll worry when my walking stick breaks.
Now the final part of the journey is to help educated as many people as possible about this illness. So there will start to be more and more time spent trying to cure it. It sounds like an idealistic dream. And I’m all into that.
To find out more about Sanjeev’s experience with MS listen to his podcast here.
MS Research are so grateful to Viv and Sanjeev for sharing their stories.