My MS Story
When my neurologist said to me "you have MS and will have it for the rest of your life" my world literally started to fall in around me..
In August 2006, on the beautiful island of Mauritius, my life changed forever. During breakfast looking over the Indian Ocean, my body started to act very strange, with a pins and needles sensation starting to travel up my right arm. Over the course of the next few hours, I started to feel quite unwell, and in the early hours of the morning was rushed to the local hospital's emergency department. The doctor in charge informed me that I had likely been struck down with some form of viral infection and that I would have to spend the next few days under his supervision.
Little did I know that this was the start of when my life from that moment, would completely change direction. Over the course of the next 12 months I went through a very difficult time trying to come to terms with my illness and deal with both high levels of physical and mental pain. There were many times throughout that initial period given the strange sensations that were running through my body, that I felt I was actually going to die. Looking back now I am convinced, not knowing what was wrong with me or receiving any formal diagnosis, this was significantly adding to my anxiety levels and overall wellbeing.
I travelled the length and breadth of Ireland and also a trip to a specialist facility in France looking for answers, seeking a cure and advice on my condition. However I had no success. My GP had no answers; the specialists had no answers, what the hell was wrong with me ?
What I didn't know at the time was that I had suffered a major attack on my central nervous system and my body was going wild with pain, anxiety and stress. I was at the peak of my career, thriving to live a very productive life with so much to look forward to.
In August 2007, twelve months after the initial attack on my body, on a routine visit to my neurologist in Belfast, I got the news I dreaded- I was formally diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
After 12 months of Googling the condition and reading everything the internet had to say about it, this was not what I wanted to hear. I left the clinic and phoned my mum and my sister to let them know of my news. I was in complete shock. What about my career, my football, everything was now up in the air. This was a complete disaster. All I could do was go home, go to bed, pull the duvet over my head and hopefully never wake up.
I had to accept I would be living with the Monster which is MS, and as far as I was concerned at that time, this was similar to a death sentence, as I had myself convinced that soon enough I would be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. Over the course of the following months, I was entering into my most difficult period, where I struggled very badly to come to terms with everything. I put on a brave face, ever the optimist but my resolve was being well and truly tested. The symptoms were very difficult to live with as even small things like visiting the supermarket was becoming physically challenging. I had a range of symptoms including nerve pain in my chest and legs, throat problems, severe head pressure along with balance problems. Normal daily tasks which all of us take for granted where now a real struggle.
After three years of questioning myself and my future, I woke up one morning and through my faith and spiritual strength, I made a decision - I was going to fight this condition, take back control of my body, control of my mind and control of my life.
Guess what - that's what I did.....