My name is Brooke and this is my personal account of living with MS and what your support means to me.
I had just begun a wonderful new relationship when I noticed there was something wrong with my right leg. It simply started to drag. I could still walk so I thought nothing of it. After it wouldn’t go away I went to see my GP who referred me straight to a neurologist. He knew something was very wrong. After several MRI scans and a CT scan I was diagnosed with relapsing/remitting MS.
After my diagnosis I didn't know what to do. It was terrifying. The hardest thing was telling my mum. My parents didn’t have a clue what MS was, none of us did. We looked it up on the internet and that’s when it really hit home. We didn’t know it was incurable, we didn’t know the symptoms, so it was a big, nasty shock.
Even the GP said that I was too young to have MS.
But I was determined to live my life to the fullest. I did everything a typical 20 year old would do, I went camping, travelled, worked, played tennis and even owned a jewellery shop. Did I forget to mention I was also Miss Philippines :)
We’d go out and because I couldn’t walk properly people automatically thought I was drunk. My friends laughed at me, and I laughed along with them. But it didn’t feel funny. Over time most of them disappeared, all except two, because I couldn’t party with them.”
Seven years on reality struck. My legs started to slow down and I needed a manual wheelchair to get around. My husband and I had to sell our home because it was just too hard to get around in a wheelchair, but to find a wheelchair friendly home was so difficult. I was only 30 years old, and facing the prospect of living in an aged-care facility. But that’s when I discovered MS Queensland.
I was like, ‘Wow!’ It blew my mind. I didn't think there was any supportive care for young people with MS, but MS Queensland changed my life. They gave me a home where I could be independent and still have the support and care that I desperately needed.
There’s so much I miss. Walking and dancing. Driving a car. Painting and making jewellery at my shop. I used to love singing, but now I can’t, because MS has affected my vocal chords. But I dread to think of where I would be without MS Queensland. I would be lost and probably on the corner of the road somewhere.
I have my independence back and my quality of life is awesome. I am so grateful for everything they have done for me. MS Queensland changed my life – they gave me a place to stay, they gave me a home.
To those people making the effort to fundraise for people like me in the MS Moonlight Walk, thank you. As someone who is on the receiving end of MS, I can tell you it makes a huge difference to my life.
Fighting MS for 16 years