Nikki Macpherson – My MS Diagnosis

My journey to diagnosis started when my GP suspected I had optic neuritis. I was initially seen via the emergency ophthalmology clinic, who then referred me to neurology who carried out a lumbar puncture and an MRI. In November 2020, I received a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

I was devastated, but at the same time, it helped to make sense of all the unexplained and weird symptoms I’d been experiencing for over 15 years. The MS diagnosis was a real lightbulb moment, not only did it help explain the odd medical symptoms like complete foot drop, terrible headaches, light sensitivity, and loss of colour vision, to name a few, it also gave us the determination to grab life by both hands and do the bucket list things including buying a lifestyle block and completing some beginner level horse treks.

After diagnosis, I was immediately started on Tysabri. One of my main goals was to improve and maintain my mobility via hippotherapy (horse riding). Before starting hippotherapy I had to use two crutches to get about. But thanks to the muscle strength I have gained by horse riding, I can walk independently most of the time and only need assistance on longer trips or uneven surfaces. In the safety of my home and in the paddocks, I will walk/weave/stumble.

During periods of fatigue or total foot drop, I require assistance from an electric chair (Omeo). I think that without the regular mental and physical commitment the hippotherapy requires from me I would be declining at a faster rate.