1984 is a year I’ll never forget. I was living in the outback when I became seriously ill. It felt as if somebody had poured cement in to me, and I also had shooting pains down my spine. I couldn’t move my body and I was really scared.
My friend placed me on a mattress in the back of a ute and drove me to the nearest hospital two hours away. From there, the Flying Doctors Service transferred me to a Perth hospital. It was touch and go for a while. I spent the next two months recovering.
The specialist couldn’t make a definitive diagnosis, so I had to travel to Melbourne to see a top specialist where I underwent many tests over several days. The results showed I had multiple sclerosis, more commonly known as MS.
MS is a condition of the central nervous system, interfering with nerve impulses within the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. MS symptoms are varied and unpredictable, depending on which part of the central nervous system the lesions develop.
In my case, MS causes problems with balance, muscle control, spasms, weakness or fatigue, lack of co-ordination, bladder issues, blurred vision. More recently, those symptoms have been coupled with the inability to walk any distance, cognitive difficulties as well as a considerable amount of pain.
I’m a very positive person and always look to creatively improve my situation. In the past, I have been involved in voluntary work, learned to paint and taught art, which gave me great joy. Sadly, I had to let these go as it was becoming more and more difficult to achieve satisfactory outcomes. Every day, it’s a real struggle to stay positive. I now have two other serious illnesses as well and the pain, at times, becomes too much. I don’t have any family support and it’s rare to hear a knock on the door.