Karen was first diagnosed with Primary Progressive MS in January 2015 at the age of 54. Karen has kindly shared her MS story below.
After going on a fabulous trip to Italy in June 2014 with a wonderful group of ladies, they noticed I was having trouble with walking, had issues with my balance and spatial awareness, and I tired easily.
I had been having these problems previously, but put it down to a mix of not being very fit, ageing and going through the change of life. As some of the ladies I was travelling with had medical training, they suggested I get myself checked out for MS on my return home. So started my journey of doctors, neurologists, an MRI and lumbar puncture, with confirmation received in January 2015 that I did indeed have MS.
My first reaction was fear – what does this mean for me? Am I going to be able to move in the future? It has taken the past three and a half years for me to come to accept my limitations and go forward.
MS has stopped me from doing some of the things that I loved in the past, such as walking along a sandy beach and swimming in the surf. And due to my fatigue, I had to stop working in my position of Office Administration.
I now take each day as it comes and my motto is “Just Breathe”.
My wonderful family and friends decided to do our first Moonlight Walk in 2016 to help raise funds for research into MS and also to show their support for me. We decided on the 5km course and formed a team called the “The Dancing Quinns”.
By doing the Moonlight Walk again this year, we are hoping to help raise awareness and funds for MS Queensland. MS Queensland have been a great help in getting me to realise that I am not alone on this journey and to understand how to cope with more day to day things that a lot of people don’t quite understand! They have been instrumental in helping me come to terms with this disease. I attended a self help and management course, and also found the physiotherapist and psychologist very helpful.
At this stage, thanks to the support I have received, I am doing well. I am able to drive and get around with a walking stick and I sometimes use a walker. For both times that we have done the Moonlight Walk, we have hired a wheelchair for me to use, and all of my team members take turns pushing me. We always have a good night and are looking forward to it again this year.
It means so much to my friends and I to see so many people walking together. Seeing everyone having such a great time and knowing they are there to also support me. It’s heart-warming.