Gif: Juanita smiling and laughing to camera. Juanita wears a blue jumper and is sitting in a wheelchair.

Having people to talk to made all the difference

My name is Juanita, I live in Enfield and I’ve been diagnosed with MS since 2000.

When I was first diagnosed I felt like I’d lost a lot. Finding people to talk to motivated me and helped me find myself again.

Easier to make excuses than face the truth

I used to be a carer and looked after a woman with MS. I helped her wash, and get clean. But I never thought to investigate what MS was.

Then one day I couldn’t do my buttons, I couldn’t do up zips. I used to drop things without knowing it, as my hand was in the same shape as if I was still holding them.

I made up excuses. Everybody makes excuses. Mine was that people were walking into me and bumping things out of my hand.

But after a series of tests, the doctor said ‘there’s a one in a million chance we’re going to diagnose you with MS’. And in due course, they did.

Practice and positivity

MS meant I couldn’t carry on with work anymore, because I couldn’t move properly. 

I used to sit inside thinking “I can’t work, but I can’t do this”. I looked at people walking about outside and thought “I’ve got to get out”.

I went along to my MS Society Local Group to get to know other people with a diagnosis.

Being surrounded by positive people motivated me. Just because you’re disabled doesn't mean you can't still do things.

I found it difficult to write with my right hand because it tremored too much. But then I thought “I was blessed with two hands, try and use your left hand.” So now I use my left hand. It’s not perfect but I’m getting there with practice.

The MS Society got me back on the road

In the early days I didn’t know the MS Society could help with grants and things. They helped me get my car when I was first diagnosed.

And when I need information about my health, or someone else’s, I can always ring them.

Share your connections story

No one should have to face MS alone. Particularly in lockdown. Real stories of life with MS help us all feel more connected. And they help us speak up for everyone with MS. Will you share yours?

Tell us about your MS Connections and raise awareness this World MS Day - share your story using #MSConnections and #WorldMSDay hashtags.

This blog was updated on 28 May 2020

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Photo: woman with MS in wheelchair with young children