I could have carried on without being aware of having MS until it eventually became ‘obvious’. This shows how much this disease can be silent, invisible and misunderstood.
My journey with MS is tightly linked with my fertility journey. I have been trying to conceive for almost 5 years now, and at the time I am writing this, I’m at the end of my last attempt at an IVF procedure… there won’t be more after this.
I thank my GP for being so reactive when we noticed that I was not getting pregnant as well as not getting younger. I was 35 at that time, I am turning 40 in a few months.
That’s when the impressive round of tests and discoveries started, amongst which an MRI was ordered. I was kept an abnormally long time in the machine. It was not my first MRI and I knew they found something and that it was not what we were looking for.
I thought about my brother. He was diagnosed with MS 3 years before me. So, at that time, I knew he had it, and I knew about the symptoms. Just before this MRI, I started to have a blurry vision. I first thought I was tired with all the travel to medical appointments, which I know now was true but not only. I started to put things together: My numbness and swollen fingers… My various wave of depressions for no apparent reasons… my regular right arm pain… my swollen burning feet… My left side cramps… On the top of all the pain and invisible… All these too benign for me to really pay attention to… I was too busy.
My GP called me after the MRI. I could feel that he had bad news and started to ask me a few questions to which I answered, “Ok, is that MS?”. His answer was “yes, we suspect it, but more tests need to be done…” And there we go… another round of tests and hospitals…
I was officially diagnosed in 2019. A year after my wedding. My husband and I were at the start of building our life, a dream of a basic and simple one… it turned out not be simple.
I was/we were sad, worried but not defeated. I’ve always been known for being a bit stubborn. Being told “there is no cure and nothing you can do” just created the opposite effect of me looking for answers and things I could do. There was a lot indeed.
I am a foodie. I love eating and cooking more than anything. I always turned to food for whatever was happening to me, even a simple cold. And I already turned towards fertility nutrition at that time.
I’m also a learning addict.
This time, with MS, it was bigger. So, I dived bigger too into nutrition and lifestyle studies. I changed my whole life to find purpose again. I did not really quit my job, lockdown and closing of business did it for me. But I anticipated and was already studying to change my career to something more respectful of myself. The more I was learning about MS and autoimmunity, the more I wanted to share it with others. I became a Nutrition and Lifestyle Health Coach specialised in MS and autoimmunity.
But above all, I found myself again. I am not saying MS was a blessing. I do not think that it is something positive that happen to me. Nobody wishes this. But, getting such a big slap in your face, you end up having 2 choices: either you stay on the floor, or you stand up and move on.
I decided to move. I am healthier now than ever. Strangely, I am also much more energised than before being diagnosed. I learnt to listen and understand myself. I know what I want. I became more resilient. And funnily much happier… MS hurt me but also opened my eyes. I don’t know if and how it will evolve but what matters is my life right now, me and my husband not giving up, looking into the future, and still trying for a baby.
Everyone story is different. With or without MS every person is unique. And everyone will have its own unique solution to cope. Nutrition and lifestyle truly matter to manage MS but there is also not a one-size-fits-all approach to dealing with MS. My wish is for everyone to understand this uniqueness and to be given the right tools to understand themselves. This is why I do what I do in my health coaching and through my involvement in the Southland MS Society.