Last month, it’s been 16 years since I was diagnosed with MS.
Six weeks before my diagnosis, I had woken up on a Sunday morning with no feeling in my left side. When my GP reviewed my notes and realised I’d been reporting symptoms like this for the past five years, he referred me to a neurologist who ordered an MRI scan. Back then, there was one MRI scanner in the Midlands with an eight month waiting list. I’d never used private health care before and haven’t since, but when my employer offered to pay for the MRI, I agreed and I had the scan within a few days. Two weeks later, I was called back in to be told the results.
When the neurologist told me I had MS, I guess I thought he would have a plan to fix it. But that didn’t happen. He explained that we would meet annually, and that I was to contact my GP in between if my symptoms returned. But that was it.
Soon after my diagnosis, the first DMTs for MS were released. Initially, they weren’t available on the NHS. Over the next few years, the MS Society successfully campaigned for a risk sharing scheme to convince the NHS to prescribe DMTs. And it funded the specialist nurses needed to support the people taking them.
I’d like to think it means people diagnosed in 2017 can start their MS journeys feeling informed, supported, empowered and hopeful.
Danielle was diagnosed with relapsing MS in 2001. She's a crossword ninja and apprentice yogi who is devoted to her dog Frank.
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