31 Days of MS: MS and Pole-dancing

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by BNS Staff |

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31 Days of MS

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Photos courtesy of Hayley Crowther

Day 1 of 31

This is Hayley Crowther’s story:

When I look back at the year I got sick, I’d just celebrated my 30th birthday. I was living with my husband and 7-year-old son, had a job I loved and, just four weeks prior to my first relapse, competed as a finalist in a national pole dancing competition. Ironically, I danced to “Fighter” by Christina Aguilera. I danced my heart out with no idea what battle was around the corner.

I woke up, and my vision had shifted 6 inches to the left. The keys on my phone weren’t where they were supposed to be and I was walking into things. People were laughing at me as I told them I was sure I’d had a stroke.

The GP gave me a diagnosis of vertigo, and I tried to relearn all these things I was struggling with. My left side was overcompensating with everything, and I was drowning myself in Ribena each time I had a drink!

I went to A&E and the doctor agreed something was off. I had an MR, which was suggestive of multiple sclerosis, had another relapse, and suffered from Lhermitte’s sign. After four months, I was not surprised to hear I had MS.

By this point, MS had been on my radar for a while. I spent a lot of time on forums and on Dr. Google.

As much as I would love not to have MS, it’s a strange coincidence that one of my best friends also has MS and was diagnosed a few years prior. We are each other’s support networks. When it came to treatment options, I copied Laura and started Tysabri straight away. I’ve been on it since with no major relapses!

The past five years haven’t been what I expected, but I’ve just done my best. That includes a promotion at work, a new forever home, and a bunch of new MS friends. I managed to keep dancing (with some adaptations and tears) — and I performed for a packed club five months after I was diagnosed —this time to Beyonce’s “Diva,” which is probably how most would describe me!

You can still live a full life with MS, just with some compromise!

Multiple Sclerosis News Today’s 31 Days of MS campaign will publish one story per day for Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month in March. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofMS, or go here to see the full series.