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Multiple sclerosis is only one part of my busy life

The profile of a person with multiple sclerosis.

Lying on her couch one Sunday evening four years ago, Laura Lee felt tingling in her hands. “Kind of like pins and needles,” says the 25-year-old PhD student.

The sensation brought her back to an event that happened in January 2010. Then 21, she’d fallen on very bad ice. “That night, I started having pins and needles down one side of my body. It progressed into quite bad numbness — I couldn’t feel one half of my body. The numbness quickly spread into the other half.”

A GP referral to A&E resulted in a series of tests that led to questions from doctors. Did Laura have any family history of neurological disorders? She didn’t. She brushed off the questions. As far as she was concerned, she’d fallen in the ice. Back home, expecting the symptoms to subside, they didn’t.

“The numbness got quite severe. I was struggling with normal tasks like brushing my hair and chopping my food.”

A comprehensive barrage of hospital tests led to a diagnosis of transverse myelitis. “It’s an indication of inflammation in the spine. I had a large lesion in mine.”

Sent home on strong steroids, it took Laura two months to get properly back on her feet. Life went on. Until that Sunday in April 2012.

“I honestly didn’t think of MS,” says Laura, from Carrigtwohill, Co. Cork. “I knew it was something related to what happened in 2010. It was only when I went into A&E and I started being asked quite heavily about family history of neurological disease and MS that it became obvious MS was definitely an option.”

Her mum, Mary, was with her when Laura was brought from her hospital ward to a private room to meet the neurologist and his team. It was a blur, she says, and at the same time “like a scene out of a soap”.

Receiving the news that she had MS was “the most frightened I’ve ever been in my life”, says Laura.

“I knew so incredibly little about it. I asked what it meant for my health in the future. The doctors can’t answer because it’s such an individual disease. Was there anything I could do around diet and exercise to promote my physical wellness? I was given no specific recommendations, except not to smoke and I’m not a smoker. It was such an incredible shock. I worried: how would it affect my PhD studies, my future career, my relationships?”

Read Full Article: Multiple sclerosis is only one part of my busy life | Irish Examiner

Read Full Article: Multiple sclerosis is only one part of my busy life | Irish Examiner

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