MS has a huge effect on the lives of those diagnosed with the condition. With this week being #MSAwarenessWeek, talkhealth have teamed up with the MS trust to help give others an insight into living with the condition. Today, we caught up with a young teacher, Jenna, who has been part of the MS trust’s campaign for #MSAwarenessWeek.
Jenna is living with MS, and talkhealth got the chance to interview her about her life and experiences with the condition.
talkhealth: How supported did you/do you feel after being diagnosed with MS?
Jenna: For a few days after my diagnosis, I remember feeling quite lost. I hadn’t previously heard of MS and so I was very confused as to how my life would change. It was after I had come to terms with the fact that I had been diagnosed with a lifelong condition that I started to investigate online through the MS Trust website and read through the information guides that I was provided by my neurologist.
TH: Did you find it easy to get help and advice about MS in these early stages?
J: Yes and no. Simply typing the condition into Google will provide you with masses of information. But, this information is often full of medical terms that, unless you are familiar with the condition, can be quite overwhelming to take in as a young adult. It was only after I met my MS nurse a month after diagnosis that I was able to find answers to all of my questions and these answers were tailored to my specific needs or concerns.
TH: Has it impacted how you socialise and interact with your friends and family?
J: More recently, yes. I find that I feel tired a lot quicker than I used to and this means that I sometimes have to limit how much I can do during a day. I initially found it a little upsetting that others couldn’t understand why I had to pass on a particular social event or return home early, but that’s no longer the case. Perhaps this is because I am a lot more open about my condition and the effects of living with MS.
TH: Do you feel it has impacted your work? Have you found ways around this?
J: Being a full time teacher was always going to be a demanding job. That being said, during the early stages, the only way MS affected me was having to return home as early as possible so that I could take my medication, which at the time was administered through an injection. MS has affected my work more over the last couple of years largely due to fatigue kicking in. I have attempted to find ways around this by tackling more strenuous activities, such as marking long essays, during the day when I feel I have more energy. I also listen to my body and try to take rest breaks, well, when I can.
TH: What advice would you give a young person who may be worried about MS?
J: I would want them to know that being diagnosed with MS doesn’t mean that you have to say goodbye to your dreams and ambitions. I still pursued a career in teaching and sky-dived soon after being diagnosed! I would also try to reassure them that they have been diagnosed at a time when new medications are always coming through to make managing MS that little bit easier.