A verdict that can be postponed
One year of rehabilitation - the only way to slow down the disease
Ends at: 15 January 2018
When I was diagnosed for the first time, I did not know anything about multiple sclerosis. Today, after 39 years, I know almost everything about this disease except how to overcome it.
At that time I was 25 years old, freshly graduated from university and just married. I was happy and my head was full of dreams and plans. I thought I could do anything! It all started with a double vision and tingling in the fingers. Subtle symptoms started to get worse. Sometimes it reminded me of being drunk. I worked a lot, so I was convinced that it was just a matter of fatigue. It didn’t occur to me that I could be seriously ill, but the symptoms did not go away. I felt worse every day.
That's how the series of doctor appointments began. Only after several visits my spinal cord was checked and the doctors were no longer in doubt - it was the beginning of multiple sclerosis. I had no idea what kind of disease it was. When the doctor wrote MS diagnosis it was the end of the seventies. Poland was ruled by a communist regime, and we dreamt about having vacations on the warm beaches of Yugoslavia. There was no internet at that time, so I wrote a letter to the Polish Society for Multiple Sclerosis to find out what my illness really was. In reply I got a short brochure and I started to feel afraid...
Dizziness and balancing problems were just the beginning. Multiple sclerosis has inevitably led me to disability, depriving the power in my arms and legs, disturbed speech and sight. From a young, entrepreneurial woman transformed into a demanding continuous care cripple. I could not agree with this.
Together with my husband, we decided that we would live normal life and we would do our utmost to be an ordinary family. Although I was advised against this, I decided to have a baby and it gave me wings. It is thanks to my, today 38-year-old son, I found the strength to face the disease. Despite the diagnosis, I worked for 10 more years and then went on a modest pension.
From the very beginning I used very intensive physical rehabilitation. Thanks to it and the support I received from my husband and son, I managed to slow down progress of the disease. It didn’t mean stopping because one can’t simply do that. Despite the progress of medical research, no one has yet found a proven cure for it. For the past 39 years I’ve been living with a worsening disability, incapacitation and death. I’m unable to change that sentence but I can push it out in time.
I have to fight the disease every day and enjoy each day as I do not know when MS will take a further toll. I want to work hard and be an inspiration for others, especially young people.
I cannot walk by myself anymore as the disease has confined me to a wheelchair, and I'm afraid I'll soon get my hands dysfunctional – my last remnants of self-control that I have left. My husband is still working, my son is helping, but I continuously lack funds for rehabilitation.
I’m not giving up, I'm fighting the whole time. For myself, for my husband, for my son. I dream to see grandchildren one day... Rehabilitation is my only chance to maintain the minimum fitness. Without it the disease will take everything very quickly. You are my hope.