Jenny was only 15 years old when her symptoms could no longer be ignored. The regular muscle spasms, lack of balance and numbness made it hard to live the active life of a regular teenager, so her mother insisted she see her GP.
Jenny now spends her days with her husband, and full time Carer; Charlie (pictured). When asked what her motivation is to keep fighting, she states “my husband….my husband is my motivation”.
“Charlie married me knowing I had this disease and the challenges it would bring. He carries me when I can’t walk, he keeps me company whilst in hospital and stands by me in everything I do”.
Rachel was diagnosed with MS in 2006, just before graduating from high school. Rachel mysteriously went almost completely blind one day. An emergency medical flight to Brisbane and a multitude of tests later, was has told she had MS.
Rachel says that for her, MS is a constant struggle between what she would like to do and what she is able to do. It presents new challenges everyday and MS Queensland is actively working in communities to help people like Rachel overcome these hurdles.
“MS Queensland offers people living with MS a wealth of knowledge and services and it’s great to know they offer options for anyone, at any age, to help raise those much needed funds we need to keep going.” Rachel says gaining funding and raising awareness are the two vital components to improving the lives of people living with MS.
In 1994, Gary started experiencing what he now knows were MS symptoms. His balance was affected, along with pins and needles and weakness in his legs. It wasn’t until 2000 when Gary underwent an MRI, that he received his diagnosis of MS.
“It’s a strange thing indeed to be told you have MS, one minute you have a relatively normal life ahead of you, the next you’re facing enormous challenges and uncertainty”.
Gary becoming wholly reliant on a wheelchair in 2007. He continued his work as a Policy officer but has had to reduce his ‘in office’ hours over the years.
“No one would choose to be diagnosed with a chronic medical condition or relish the prospect of living with an illness with an uncertain prognosis. One of the hardest part of the MS journey is the uncertainty.”
Jenny was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2011, after experiencing symptoms, including pins and needles in both legs and optic neuritis I both her eyes.
“The first piece of information I received when I was diagnosed with MS was the contact details for MS Queensland. I made a call straight away. I am so glad I did, as the help and guidance on what to do next from the MS nurse was of great comfort, and I knew I was in good hands.”
In hindsight Jenny feels extremely lucky to have been diagnosed very quickly, so she could start her medication and was able to get on with her busy life as a wife, mum to two wonderful sons and her full-time job.
Living with MS since 1996
Gail was 41, managing a business and raising her two young children, when she was diagnosed with secondary progressive MS in 1996.
At the time of Gail’s diagnosis, she didn’t know anyone else living with this disease. Her MS progressed quickly, to the point where she required a wheelchair permanently by 2001.
“Not one of us knows. We could go to bed one day and wake up the next and have lost our vision, lost our mobility, or have an incurable disease”
Gail’s symptoms, such as fatigue, can be so debilitating some days that she simply can’t get out of bed. And on the mornings that she pushes past that intense feeling in her limbs, as well as the mental struggle, she’s usually exhausted by the afternoon.
“I would love to be independent, be able to maintain my home, work full time and dance again.”