As a side effect of this horrible illness, it’s by far the best one. Having the diagnosis gives you a free pass into a whole new world. There’s online forums, local support groups, telephone helplines and charities devoted to fighting on your behalf.
When you first meet a fellow MSer, there’s always a quick exchange of your MS journey, i.e. ‘diagnosed last year, relapsing remitting, taking Tysabri, what about you?’ before chatting away as normal. And when you say you’re tired, they get you right away. The MS fatigue, the bane of my life. I can’t describe it to people who haven’t had it. The closest I get is to liken it to a massive energy switch being switched off internally and it can strike out of the blue. You have to sleep. Now.
So there’s something really refreshing about getting together with other MSers. You belong. You don’t have to explain. You can just have a good old whinge.
I went to the local MS Society Christmas party yesterday. There was a huge buffet and a pub crooner for entertainment. We sang along to ‘Delilah’ and sat in two long rows of tables, a disparate bunch of people. I only knew a few people there, but had a good catch up with them and we kind of understand each other. I might not see them again for a couple of months, but we’ll just pick up from where we left off.
But my friends from BMS (before multiple sclerosis) are equally important. They’re the ones who tell me to stop whinging, shut up and pull me back into normal life again…