Q: When were you diagnosed with MS?
A: I was diagnosed in 2016 aged 40
Q: What were some of the symptoms?
A: Over a period of time I would notice a few different things, and they weren’t always happening at once.
The vision in my eye went and then came back, I was constantly dizzy and really tired, and my tongue was tingling – like it was going numb. I have a “tingling” all over my body, I explain it as little fireworks going off all over my body, cramping mainly in my legs.
The right side of my body went numb for a short period of time then eventually the feeling in my legs would go whenever I ran or trained my legs in the gym, it takes about 30 to 60 minutes for the feeling to completely come back (depending on what I am doing) and then the pain that I have in them as the feeling comes back can be excruciating.
I still experience the dizziness, fatigue, tingling all over and pain on a daily basis, now and then out of the blue my right side will go numb and I still lose feeling in my lower body when I train.
Q: What did you suspect based on your symptoms?
A: I had a feeling that it was going to be MS, being a nurse I put all the symptoms together, hoped it was just some weird thing going on but no such luck!
The neurologist told me it was what I was thinking and that it was RRMS (relapsing- remitting MS)
Q: How has your diagnosis impacted your life?
A: I have not stopped what I was doing previously, some things are now more difficult for me to do on my own or can take a lot longer to achieve, for example for me to train legs on my own is nearly impossible, I need someone to help me load weights once the feeling in my legs have gone and to carry me from one place to another.
I am pretty determined to do everything I have always done, even though a lot of the time it really gets to me and I feel pretty isolated majority of the time, I will make it happen.
Q: What is one of the important things you tell people about dealing with MS?
A: I always say just because you can’t do something yourself, doesn’t mean it can’t be done!
Q: Why did you choose to start your event?
A: I wanted people to have an awareness about MS due to the fact that not many people know anything about it or what it can do to people, even when people see me on a daily basis to look at me you wouldn’t know anything was wrong regardless of how I feel. Even when people see me being carried around in the gym or see me training, they make think oh what an inspiration and don’t think anything else of it or really know what is going on, so I want to educate people on just how awful MS is/can be.
Not only did I want to bring more of an awareness of MS but to also show people that anything is possible, whether you need help doing something or aids, or just pure encouragement and support, to do your best and never give up on what you want in life!
Q: What can you tell us about the event? What sort of challenges have you experienced in preparation?
A: I have organised a 100km bike ride from my gym where I train at Impact Strength and Fitness in Warana to Gympie. I have had to organise a tandem bike, as I wouldn’t be able to ride that far on my own due to not having any feelings in my legs, I physically could ride the distance but wouldn’t be able to stop at lights, or get off the bike for stops or anything.
I have a Van that will be going to every pit stop so people are able to put their bikes into the van and either car pool along or end the journey there. Once finished the bikes will be taken back to the gym where people are able to collect them.
Q: Do you have a fundraising target?
A: My target is as much as I can get, I know it is financially difficult for people at times, so I am also encouraging people to either ride to a pit stop or the whole way. Or even just meet us at a pit stop, or the finish just to show some support.
Q: What’s your advice for others looking to fundraise?
A: If there is something you are passionate about or just want to support just to decide on something that people can get involved in, not to complicated and just get the word out to as many people as possible.
Q: What are some of the challenges of having MS and what do you hope to achieve through fundraising?
A: Having MS can be really hard and lonely, most of the time I feel like I am not getting anywhere or not doing a good enough job. I get really frustrated with myself, especially when it comes to my training as I am just not getting where I need to be for what I want to do, as relying on others is hard as people are busy and it just isn’t always doable, so giving up is an option that is constantly on my mind! But I don’t I have my cry and I get on with it.
More than anything I really hope to inspire people, with or without conditions/disease, to get out there and make it happen, live your life to your fullest potential, and always ask for help if you need it. It has taken me a long time to learn that lesson, even though I am still not very good at asking for help as I feel like I am burdening people, but if you don’t ask no one knows you need help!