Tag Archives: Limboland

In The Beginning, There Was Cake….

scrummy yummy cakeSome of you have asked how my whole sorry MS story started, so here is the potted version.

Like many things in my life, it began with cake.

Leaving a friend’s house after enjoying a slice (okay, two slices) of delicious cake. I turned to say, ‘thanks for the cake!’ but it came out as ‘thanks, Kate’. Odd. I tried again. Same thing.

I went home perplexed. The Teenager was away for the weekend and over the course of the next two days my speech deteriorated, I was exhausted and my balance was shot. I knew something was seriously wrong.

I eventually ended up in hospital, talking gibberish. The clues were all there. The overwhelming tiredness over the previous six months, the dodgy walking, the simplest tasks taking forever. Throw in a childhood in Scotland and a parent with MS and I guessed the rest.

I assumed I would be diagnosed there and then (ha!) but that was just the beginning. Until I had a further relapse, I was in Limboland with no idea how long I would stay there. It took a year to hear the dreaded words, ‘highly active/rapidly evolving relapsing remitting MS’.

That year was probably┬áthe worst of my life. The lumbar puncture was a vile, medieval torture, the MRIs were terrifying and I lost count of how many blood tests I had. I lay awake at night, rigid with fear, worrying about the future. A lot of people say the day they are finally diagnosed is both the best and worst day of their lives. I agree. After all the waiting, the anxiety, the fears, it was a relief to finally have some answers. But it doesn’t make it any easier.

My main priority was to keep life going on as normal as possible for The Teenager. I would sleep in the afternoons, setting my alarm so I was awake just before he got home from school, duvet tucked away behind the sofa. I hid my anxiety. I became best friends with the pizza delivery man.

Those were dark, dark days. They are behind me now and an uncertain future still lies ahead, but isn’t that true for everyone? And as for cake, well, it certainly hasn’t put me off…

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A Helping Hand in Limboland

sad stick womanSometimes I wish I could go back in time to that terrifying morning when I woke up and couldn’t speak properly or walk in a straight line. If I knew then what I know now, I would have been a very different person. For someone whose father had MS, I knew surprisingly little. I had no idea what ┬áCIS was, what an MRI would show, why I had to have a lumbar puncture.

I was in Limboland. I might develop MS. Or I might not. It is a cruel waiting game. I didn’t understand the ‘multiple’ part of multiple sclerosis. I left the clinic after that first relapse utterly petrified. What was I to do now? I had been given a couple of MS leaflets and information about how to contact the MS team. But if I didn’t yet have MS, why would I be given that? I was bewildered.

I accessed a few forums, one dedicated to Limbolanders and I gained a huge amount of information (a very, very special mention to ‘Rizzo’ who was amazing in answering all my queries). The forums were a lifeline, but at a cost. A lot of people had been stuck in Limboland for years, some well over a decade. Despair and anger oozed from the forum. We were all in a nasty, dark waiting room and I would feel a painful stab of strange envy when someone posted that they had been diagnosed, and were now leaving us behind; they had the golden ticket.

I read everything I could about the McDonald criteria, ticking off the four points bit by bit. Finally (but only 10 months later), I had my ticket. My brain threw up more lesions, far too many and I was diagnosed. Possibly one of the best and worst days of my life.

I wish I had been handed a step-by-step guide to life in Limboland, clearly explaining the whole diagnostic process, the frustrations, the waiting. Could someone please publish this? Letting us know that you have to go through so much, from first relapse to eventual diagnosis. Break us in gently. Please don’t throw us in the deep end.

So, to everyone diagnosed with MS, look out for the Limbolanders. Treat them kindly. Be an inspiration and show them we are not so bad, it’s not so scary. There is a life after diagnosis. Aren’t we all proof of this?

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