October 27, 2021 | Life with MS
Andrew Hodson was diagnosed with Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS) in 2008.
“I probably had it for 20 years before that. A mixture of symptoms appeared then went away, including numb legs plus pins and needles. The initial diagnosis was very confronting, and I shed many tears.”
Shocked by what he was hearing, Andrew can’t recall the entire appointment “But when the Doctor first told me I had MS, I apparently went very pale and they instructed me to lie down.”
Since then, Andrew has moved into Rowan House, a residential care facility in Hawkes Bay. With limited spaces he moved in as soon as he noticed a rapid decline in his symptoms.
Andrew had a career as a horticultural scientist for MAF. Following this he started his own business called HortPlus, (www.hortplus.co.nz) specialising in high quality computer-based solutions for the horticultural industries. While he is not involved in the day-to-day operation of the company his legacy and the company is still thriving.
“I used to paint and draw but I can’t now.” However not one to let MS hold him back, Andrew has shifted his focus to poetry, 3D printing and laser etching. ” They’re all great fun and activities I can do at Rowan House.”
Andrew hasn’t always had such a positive and practical outlook.
“I’ve had my share of depression and suicidal thoughts. To overcome these, I reached out to people around me. The staff at Rowan House were fantastic. If you are struggling, you should reach out to someone, you might be surprised how much help you get.”
“I am blessed and cursed with a need to overachieve, but I’ve learnt to calm down a bit and enjoy life. If I could offer one piece of advice to someone on their MS journey it would be to be kind to yourself, have fun and focus on what you can do – not what you can’t. “