I’d firstly like to express my gratitude to those of you who have written to me about the way in which you were diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I’ve had 22 letters and I’m truly grateful. If there are others of you out there still thinking about writing a letter, please do! I’d love to hear about your experience also.
The letters have all been powerful and I thought it might be useful to share some extracts from the first two I received, in order to illustrate this.
On the 26th of January I received a letter from John, which said, ‘The young man – so many men are young compared to me these days – seemed to be excited by the fact that he’d identified my ‘issue’, but equally as embarrassed by having to tell me that those dark lesions on my cerebellum indicated that I had officially entered a whole new world.’ John finished his letter by writing, ‘Grey days brighten with the right support.’
That same day I received a letter from Y. I’ve picked a few extracts from it to give you a flavour of her experience. She wrote, ‘Very calmly, I asked her what she was thinking. ‘MS,’ she replied. I felt nothing. I closed down. She referred me for an MRI – another long wait… The MRI went by in a blur of emotional (rather than physical) numbness. An hour later, when my aunt and friend had popped out for a coffee, I was called into the consulting room. A different, Eastern European registrar showed me my MRI scan. I looked at some white patches, like mould or lichen on my brain scan. ‘We believe you have MS,’ he said in a thick accent… I am now a different person, four years on. I accepted the illness as part of me, eventually… I now live a richer life ; poorer, financially, but so much richer in terms of compassion for myself and others.’
I believe that all the letters I’ve received offer those who don’t have Multiple Sclerosis an important insight into what it’s like to go through the diagnosis process.