Welcome to this, the very first installment of my new regular column for Multiple Sclerosis News Today. Here, you can join the race to beat this disease. Run to win.
First, let me introduce myself. I am, shall we say, mature — aged 63; having spent my working life doing what I love most, writing. It all started straight from high school by joining a weekly local newspaper as a junior reporter. It ended, many years later, with me retiring from my role as an editor of a group of regional papers.
All my adult life, from the age of 18, I have lived with epilepsy but medications keep that completely under control. In 2002, however, MS was diagnosed and 4½ years later it proved impossible to carry on working. Later, in 2010, a heart problem was also discovered. If nothing else, the MRIs mean that there is clinical evidence that I really do have both a brain and a heart — despite what some may venture to suggest.
Exactly 10 months ago today, my own blog was launched and, after a fairly slow first five months, has now really taken off with the number of views per month currently reaching 20,000. It focuses on Health & Disability. You can find my blog at www.50shadesofsun.com — just click on the Latest Blog Post link for the current offering. Also, if you have a really insatiable curiosity, you can find pages that will tell you more about me.
Sparing no effort to win
So, what is this column all about? What’s Important Now is about us — whether you, like me, live with MS, or are a family member who is closely affected by the illness or are even a professional carer.
We’ll look at everything: different symptoms; diagnostic tests; treatments both current and alternative; new developments; supposed ‘cures’; attitudes to life; and much, much more. There will be no medical opinions coming from me as I am not a doctor but that does not prevent me from writing about medical topics or stop me from offering my own views.
WIN is about us — all of us: scientists, doctors, carers, you and me — sparing no effort to win our race against MS.
Each and every one of us at the sharp end, and by that I mean having been diagnosed with MS, need to keep positive and concentrate on what we can do. We have to look forward from where we are now, not backward at things we can no longer do.
‘Never give up’ is a sentiment often heard, and it is true. We must never be sufferers; instead we must live with MS, taking it in our stride to the best of our ability.
British prime minister Winston Churchill said in June 1940, during the Second World War: “We shall never surrender.” And nor must we, we cannot quit our race until multiple sclerosis is finally and decisively defeated.