‘To the world you are a mother, but to your family, you are the world’
March 2014 mum had us all frantic after being rushed to hospital after losing sensation in the left side of her body, dangerously high blood pressure and intense headaches, all causing her to have dizziness and slurred speech. Mum was either crying in pain with her head between her knees or trying to communicate with us without stuttering.
Mum was emitted onto the stroke unit for a suspected mini stroke. She was sent for an emergency CAT scan to find out the damage the stroke had caused. The doctors explained that the CAT scan showed lesions on the brain. Lesions on the brain refers to any type of abnormal tissue in or on the brain tissue. The doctors were unsure on the cause of the lesions so she was sent for an emergency MRI scan for more answers.
Months later, 1st August 2014 to be exact, is a day I will never forget, it was the day my mum was diagnosed with the dreaded relapsing remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS). We were heartbroken. As, for my mum, she was distraught. Absolutely broken inside. She thought her life was over. We had been living up North for 6 years by this point and she loved it but after the diagnosis all she wanted to do was run as far away as possible. She didn’t want to live here anymore. She didn’t want to be near a hospital that had given her such terrifying and devastating news. So she moved away, my mum and sister moved back down South. I missed her like crazy. I just wanted her close to us so we could support her but when my mum’s heart is set on something, she will do it. We saw her all the time though. If we weren’t visiting her, she would be up North visiting us.
It didn’t take long. Just under a year later, she told us she felt lonely down South on her own and she was moving back home where she belonged. There was something different about her. That smile and positivity that we all know and love was back. She didn’t lose strength by choosing to live closer to family. That decision made her strong. In fact, the strongest women that I had ever met. She made us all proud. She began to accept that a person can still be strong even if they do need a little helping hand from time to time. Having her family around became everything to her. Her family has always been the most important thing to her but we needed her just as much as she needed us.
In a local cafe we like to go, my mum treated us to hot chocolate and a cake. As my mum walked over towards me with the tray of drinks, she looked unsteady on her feet. She accidentally walked into a table and her hand was shaking so much the drinks were spilling, so I got up and helped her. Two old women were shouting “it’s not the place to bring a drunk woman”. I was absolutely disgusted that people could be so rude. What a way to shatter someones confidence.
It didn’t knock my mums confidence though and i managed to persuaded her to come to a threatre show with me. She was unsteady on her feet already so couldn’t manage the flights of stairs to the toilets, she decided to use the disabled toilets. Some woman in a wheelchair behind her turned around and said “these are the disabled toilets, the normal women’s are up the stairs”. I mean how rude. Just because she isn’t in a wheelchair does not mean she doesn’t have a disability.
My mum has suffered with almost all the symptoms of MS. She’s had optical neuritis, fatigue, numbness and tingling, muscle spasms, stiffness and weakness, mobility problems, problems with thinking, learning and planning, anxiety, bladder problems, bowel problems and speech and swallowing difficulties. Some days are worse than others. Every day is different. MS is unpredictable. My mum always says the key to good health is happiness and positivity. And that she is.
My mum even now attends an MS society and has joined many MS online groups. We never thought she would join anything like these so that’s an achievement in its self. She was sceptical at first but she will now openly admit how much they help. She said that she no longer feels alone and there are many people she can speak to of all different ages going through the same.
No one of our family fully understand MS, but we are all willing to learn. My mum is learning what it is like living with MS. The rest of us, we are learning how to understand MS. Like I said, MS is unpredictable and we have to take each day as it comes.
MS doesn’t define my mum. It is just a disease that is a small part of what she is about.
Every day is a learning day. But, my mum’s confidence just improves day after day. Of course, she has many knocks along the way but she just overcomes everything that she is faced with. She is the best nanny to my little boy and the best mother to the four of us. She is our inspiration. The best mum we could have wished for.