It’s a funny old life with multiple sclerosis and I write about whatever’s on my mind, no matter how trivial or random, and not always about MS.
After starting my blog in 2012, it’s now read in over 150 countries, so a huge thank-you to everyone who has supported us over the years.
Originally from Scotland, I now live in Cardiff, South Wales and my son, The Teenager, is at University.
I was diagnosed with MS in May 2012; I had my first course of Alemtuzumab (Campath/Lemtrada) in the summer of 2012 and had my second in 2013. In Autumn 2015, I had a third course.
I was dismissed from my last job for having MS – I won the tribunal – and I’m now working for my friend’s company and enjoying every minute as a building site project manager, muddy boots and all.
I’m chuffed to say that I was a finalist for the MS Society’s MS Digital Media of the Year 2013 award and again in 2016. I was also a finalist for the MS Society’s Campaigner of the Year 2017 and my boss was a finalist for Employer of The Year in 2018.
In the meantime, I completed an MA in Creative Writing at Cardiff Metropolitan University and was awarded a Distinction as well as the MA Humanities Award for Academic Excellence.
As of Autumn 2018, I started a Research PhD, with the focus firmly on MS – click here to see my research profile, then click on my name, Barbara Stensland.
I am delighted to have been accepted as a member of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in 2018 and hope to expand my professional writing alongside the PhD.
My book, ‘Stumbling In Flats’ was short-listed for The International Rubery Book Award 2015. My MA dissertation story, ‘Who Cares?’ was short-listed for the 2017 Exeter Story Prize.
In Spring 2016, I was asked to be the MS advisor for the short film, ‘Spoon Fed’, starring Lesley Sharp (Scott and Bailey, The Full Monty) and Joseph Mawle (Game of Thrones), and I also had a walk-on part, an interesting, nerve-wracking and illuminating experience.
As well as taking part in academic research for several organisations as a patient representative, I write for numerous websites, including Sanofi Genzyme (as a Committee member), Teva Pharmaceuticals (as a content adviser), the UK MS Society and many others and I have been interviewed by BBC Wales and BBC Radio Wales on the topic of disability discrimination. Aside that, I speak at conferences across the UK and Europe, most recently in Hungary, Athens and Copenhagen.
I am also an #IAmEmbolden Ambassador for Disability Wales, focusing on encouraging more deaf and disabled women and girls in Wales in to further education.
I like croissants (especially almond), newspapers, a good discussion over a cheap bottle of wine and expensive candles, gift shops in museums, the London underground and sparkly flat shoes. The Teenager enjoys winding me up,
pizzas protein shakes (things have changed since 2012) and expensive t-shirts.