I hate needles. Being told I’d need to do injections was the worst news ever, second only to my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.
Sitting in the neurologist’s office with my husband, Paul, was terrifying. I was 22 and newly diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS. They told me the first treatment would be injected. Naturally, I freaked out.
Living in England, our healthcare is free, which is great, but it also means we sometimes don’t get much say in our treatment choices.
At the time, I had just finished university and was about to commit to my business full-time — until the unthinkable happened and I lost the use of both hands. This ultimately canceled my plans of being a famous illustrator. How could I illustrate when I couldn’t hold a pencil? It was a difficult time. I became super depressed, but Paul, then my boyfriend, was there for me from day one.
While at the hospital, I told Paul to leave me and find someone who wouldn’t be a burden on him. I was sick, and I felt I had to give him a “get-out clause.” He told me to stop being silly and get in the car so that we could go home. My heart filled with gratitude and my eyes with tears. I could not believe how lucky I was to have this person want to stay by me despite all the hardship we knew we would face.
At that point, I’d been with Paul for six years. We met at our sixth form college (the two final years of secondary school) when we were 16 and 17, and we have been inseparable since.
I can’t imagine how hard it would be to date and have MS nowadays. I’d always be thinking:
When would I tell them about my illness?
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