By Andrew Deeks
After the shock of being diagnosed with MS in 1992, which took me about 8 weeks to get over, I was ready to go back to work has a dog handler. This job involved working long hours, up to 12 hours a day, this I found easy to start with but as time went by it got harder.
The problem was that I had to hide the MS from my boss, because if he found out, I would lose my job. To overcome this problem I asked my boss if I could work nights only. After waiting for more than two hours he called me into the office and asked for an explanation. I said that it was better for me, he eventually accepted my reply and said yes. That was one problem out of the way, now all I had to do was to make sure no one found out that I had MS, which I managed to do for 4 years. Then it was found out and I was told that I could no longer work as a dog handler.
It took me 18 months to find a another job. I got employed as a truck driver. In this new job I went all over Europe. I tried to get a trip back to England in the 4 years that I worked there, but it was not meant to be. I really enjoyed the job, meeting different people every day all over Europe and it was a new experience for me, too. I learned a lot about the different life styles.
It was in the summer of 1999, when I had my big attack the MS knocked me for six. From that day on I have not been able to work. I started to take Repif 3 times a week, which helped me get the MS stabilized and worked for 18 months before it stopped having the expected effect. The next therapy I tried was having Cortisone injected in to my spine every 4 to 6 weeks. I underwent this for 3 months but it made the MS more prominent so the therapy had to be stopped. After having a rest of 6 weeks I start my new therapy which is low dose Naltrexone. In effect chemo therapy. My real hope is that this will be the right one for me.
The way I deal with my MS is to try and keep a positive mind, by not letting the MS get control of me, by keeping my mind occupied with other things. I can manage this most of the time. Most days I work on my computer as I find it keeps my stress level down to a minimum which helps me in the fight against MS.
In the beginning it was hard to take fall control of the MS as I was in a limbo I was frightened because I did not know what was going on as I new nothing about MS or were it came from, I had to get answers but were do you start looking for them!?
Books were a good start at that time, even though there were not too many books on the market to chose from, however, I found one that was about living with MS. It was a good starting point as it answered a lot of my questions. I am still looking for the answer after 12 years. Along with my fellow MS sufferers I live in hope that one day the miracle cure is just around the corner.
In August 2003 I went in to the Sauerland Clinic, which is for people who suffer with Multiple Sclerosis. It is set in a wooded area by the Sorpesee ( a water reservoir) in Sauerland, Germany. At the clinic all the doctors and nurses will give you all the help that you need. I spent 3 hours talking to the doctor after all my test results came back before starting my chemo therapy. It is called Mitoxantron and is administered by IV drops, taking about 2 hours to complete. This is done every 3 months for about 2 years. The side effects to this therapy are that you fill sick for about 24 hours afterwards and over time you might lose some hair. I think that is a small price to pay if the therapy works.
The theory behind the chemo therapy is that if you lower the bodies immune system it will stop attacking the Merlin sheath around the nerves and get you in a more stable condition. This will not happen after the first therapy. It will take 3 or 4 doses of therapy before you find out if it is working. The next chemo therapy is in November. I will be going back to the same clinic for about 10 days. There are six of us having the same therapy and we asked the doctor if we could all return at the same time so that we could help each other get thought the therapy. We all come from different parts of Germany and have a special kind of friendship that only other Multiple Sclerosis suffers would under- stand. This friendship helps us stay on the positive side. If one of us is feeling down we know we can pick up the phone and talk to some one we know and trust. This is the best friendship you can wish for.
A healthy person has many wishes, the ill person just one.