Nicole Jupp – Regional Member

I had everything most thirty-year old’s want, a career, a house, a loving partner and family. When I look back now, I know I took it all for granted. I would have never believed that one day the rug would be ripped from underneath me. If I knew, I would have appreciated everything I had.

It started out feeling like a common cold but ended with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Understandably this turned my life completely upside down.

All I knew about MS at that time was that my partners’ cousin had it, but she seemed fine, and a distant memory of someone from Shortland Street having it, but I never really watched the show.

Post-diagnosis we were blessed with our first (and only) child, so for the first year and a half, I was able to focus on her and avoid confronting my new reality. Sometimes I would run into people I knew. They’d ask where I had disappeared to, and once I told them I was usually faced with one of two looks, either a step back in shock, revealing disgust and fear of the unknown, or a step forward with a hand on my shoulder affirming compassion and empathy. Both started to loosen the grip on my previous life forcing me to face my truth.

When diagnosed, I was informed of a support group that I could attend at my local MS society, MS Taranaki. My initial thoughts on support groups were ‘people just sitting around feeling sorry for themselves,’ and this was something I didn’t want. Eventually, curiosity got the better of me and I reached out. Those original speculations crumbled after meeting Moria; the local MS Field Worker. This brought a ray of sun through the rain cloud above my head that was a constant reminder and an ever-threatening possibility of a potential relapse. Not only did it give me a sense of security and community, but it opened a door of potentially being able to play a part in helping an amazing cause for people just like you, who may be hiding from their diagnosis, feeling alone or continuously trying to explain a misunderstood disease.

I hope by reading this, it drives people to not only to help an amazing cause but also bring people diagnosed with MS to our community and spark a thirst for knowledge to grow a greater awareness.

To read more stories see My Story. My Strength. My MS.