This is a really hard post for me. Some of you will know I had an MRI back at Easter, and nervously spent my time pinning while I waited for the results. Yesterday I went to a new neurologist for a review and second opinion. She confirmed my diagnosis. I have Multiple Sclorosis (MS).
What is MS?
When I was told by the first neurologist that he thought it was MS, he asked if I knew what it was? Apart from doing the MS read-a-thon as a kid I really didn't have a clue.
MS is an auto-immune degenerative disease. Your own immune system attackes the myelin sheath (the fatty lining) around your central nervous system (your brain and spine). The lining is a bit like the plastic coating around electrical wires, when it is damaged the wires (or in my case nerves) are exposed and don't work properly. The messages get disrupted or don't get through.
Who gets MS?
About 1 in 1,000 people in Australia have MS (the other 99.9% don't). According to MS Australia, twice as many women as men have MS, with the onset of symptoms occurring most often between the ages of 20 and 40. It is often referred to as a young person's disease. I'm 42. My neurologist said to me it is quite possible that I have been living with the condition for years but the symptoms have been mild. In hindsight, I can now see some of those symptoms that I dismissed as being 'normal' or 'nothing to worry about'.
Cause & Cure
This is the bad bit. Researchers still don't know what causes MS and there is no cure. Around the world, there is much research being done. They're getting close but they're not quite there yet.
To tell or not to tell?
I really struggled to know whether to 'go public' with this. I'm pretty much a wear your heart on your sleeve kind of girl, so late last night I published a photo on instagram, and then it was done. It was out there, and I didn't feel any pressure to keep this 'big secret'. I hope that by sharing this, I have helped to spread some awareness of the condition.
Yesterday I went to the pharmacy with my first prescription for a drug that I must inject myself with everyday, much like diabetics (another auto-immune disease) have to inject themselves with insulin everyday. The medicine won't cure the MS, but it helps. Much like a diabetic, I now need to take control of my diet and lifestyle so that I can lead a happy and fulfilling life. I don't mean just eat an apple, I mean I really have to overhaul my whole diet and lifestyle - eat really well, exercise, control stress and simplify my life.
You are what you eat
You are what you think
and you are what you live.
Some Changes to my Blog
I am a home decor girl. It's in my blood. I will go into a homewares/vintage shop and be in my own little world. Touching and feeling things. Imagining where it would fit in my home. You ladies can relate to that, it's just the way we are. So my blog will still have posts about making over furniture, creating a stylish home, and fun craft and DIY projects. But ... one of the biggest challenges I have faced lately is how to eat really healthy delicious food that is low in saturated fat and dairy-free. I've had the good fortune to meet half a dozen ladies with MS in the past few weeks, and we are all in the same boat. Asking each other "how do you mash your potatoes without butter and milk? So over the coming weeks I will be adding a page to the top of my blog called 'The MS Foodie', to share the food I've found. That doesn't mean you have to have MS to eat the food - it's just really healthy, tasty food - best enjoyed in a stylish setting!
Love and big virtual hugs to you all.