Alastair Farrugia – Living with Multiple Sclerosis
I developed my first MS symptom (urinary urgency) in 2004; then, in 2005 I had muscle stiffness. Luckily, my doctor quickly referred me to a neurologist, who ordered an MRI, diagnosed MS, and started me on beta-interferon. Just 30 years earlier, such rapid diagnosis and treatment would not have been available anywhere in the world, and in many countries today it is only available to rich people.
By 2010, I was using a wheelchair or rollator, and moved back to live with my parents. The muscle relaxant pills I was taking were having little good effect but, in 2013, I was given a baclofen pump (which sends a much smaller dose to the spine). This made a huge difference and, together with physiotherapy, exercise and a better diet, my mobility improved very much, although I still walk with a limp.
Luckily, my work did not require mobility, and the company I worked with (Crimsonwing, now KPMG MBS) was very helpful.
The uncertainty of what future symptoms might appear, and when make it difficult to make long-term plans, but I was lucky that the MS did not have an even worse effect. I am grateful for the medical science, and the healthcare system funded by our taxes, which let me have a much better life than was possible in other times and places.
Multiple Sclerosis Society
30th May – World Multiple Sclerosis Day