How were you initially diagnosed with MS? What were the signs and symptoms?
I was diagnosed by accident! ..that’s right.
I was working as a radiographer at the time, taking part in a research trial at work which
involved an MRI of my brain. Sadly, a lesion was picked up, triggering a whole load of tests and
trips to the neurologist, which ultimately confirmed my diagnosis. Long story short, I used my
diagnosis as motivation to leave my career completely and retrain as a doctor. I’m far from your
typical case! MS came to find me, not the other way around.
In hindsight, I did have some symptoms, numbness, tingling, visual disturbances, dropping
things. Sadly, these were minor and didn’t really hinder my daily activities. They were therefore
easy to ignore and blame on other things such as being over-tired, for instance. My advice to
you, please don’t ignore your symptoms. If you’re worried, seek a medical opinion.
How have you managed your condition?
Where do I start? Firstly, plenty of rest. My work pattern has been tailored so I don’t work
Wednesdays. The day to recover in the middle of the week is priceless!
Diet is also key, avoid any artificial products. Synthetic chemicals like artificial sweeteners and
preservatives have no place in our bodies! Avoid smoking and drinking where possible too.
Smoking in particular, has been shown to speed up progression thus, worsen the trajectory of
Exercise. This is a given, exercise benefits everybody.
…and of course, a disease-modifying therapy. Your neurologist will be able to help with this.
How have you been able to maintain your productivity despite living with your illness?
In the early days, I carried on with life as normal. Today, I am still very much independent, but I
have had to make small changes. For example, I have replaced running for cycling. Little things
like that. I tend to exercise daily however, as this is a great thing for both, your physical and
mental health. Don’t underestimate that.
Finally, work can be tiring, it is important to now your limits. Hence the Wednesdays off! Don’t
feel bad to take a day to rest if you need it. If you don’t make time for your health today, your
health won’t make time for you tomorrow.
What message do you have for others who are living with MS?
Although it may not see it right now, but your diagnosis is an incredible opportunity that not
many people get, to revaluate your life and hit the reset button. Your life has already changed
fairly drastically, so use that as a springboard to redefine your limits. My diagnosis gave me the
motivation to bring about profound change – You can be anything you want. Go get it.