Mid June I was lucky enough to see a social media post from a lady named Maxine who was re-tweeted by the Multiple Sclerosis Society, they were thanking Maxine and her husband David for their fund-raising efforts. I exchanged a few messages with Maxine and she agreed to write a blog for me about her story.
Maxine is so incredibly upbeat, appreciative of all she has in life and not letting her illness get her down.
I really hope you enjoy Maxine’s story below, she is a person that has dealt with her illness with the type of stoicism that makes me ashamed when I moan about having “my bad shoulder”.
It’s funny how life turns out isn’t it?
Early in 2004 I got double vision. This was completely out of the blue and although I had loads of scans and tests the doctors concluded that it was just one of those things. My vision returned after a month or so and life returned to normal. Very soon after this I found out I was pregnant.
Fast forward 11 years to the end of 2015. I have an absolutely amazing 10-year-old, a partner I adore and a job I love. Overall life is amazing. However I have lost the feeling in my hands, have ‘funny bone’ arms (a permanent sense of hitting my funny bone all over my arms), a really tight feeling in my chest and ‘diet coke’ legs (feels like there is fizzy diet coke in the veins in my legs). And despite not being a big drinker, on certain days I walk and talk as though I have had one too many G&Ts.
This again prompted lots of scans and tests and concluded with the doctor ringing me on Christmas Eve 2015 to tell me that “it looks like you have MS”.
It took until April 2016 to get a firm diagnosis and I remember very clearly the day that the doctor told me. I went to work as usual, walked to my hospital appointment from work and was told I had MS. I then walked the 20 minute walk back to work rationalising it in my brain, sat at my desk, emailed my bosses to let them know and got on with the jobs of the day. It was all very matter of fact.
The honest reality of it all was that I was actually relieved in many ways. The diagnosis meant that whatever was going on with my body meant that it finally had a label and I could start living my life again.
In the time it took to get the official word I had done what many people would do and consulted Dr Google. It all started to make sense. I had had MS for years but life had got in the way of even thinking about it. For years I had had pins and needles when I looked down and tiredness that was staggeringly overwhelming but had just put it all down to having a small child to look after and getting on with day to day life. Everybody gets tired don’t they?
Now we’re in 2017 and I have officially had MS for just over a year. My life is still amazing.
My daughter Ella continues to be a source of pride and amazement to me. She’s doing very well at school, she’s polite and she writes this blog about nature https://daisynature.wordpress.com/ Read that and tell me what’s not to be proud of.
My partner David is brilliant. He makes me laugh on a daily basis. He gets out of bed every day during the week at 5:15 to go to work to make sure we have everything we need. At the end of 2016 he decided he wanted to do something to raise money for the MS Society and after training very hard for 6 months, on 10 June this year he cycled from one side of England to the other in one day raising a whopping £2,700 in the process! I have definitely found my Prince Charming.
And my work. What can I say about work? I love it. On Monday to Friday between the hours of 9 and 3 you will find me working at UNW LLP, a firm of accountants in Newcastle. I honestly could not ask for a better place to work. My bosses and the team I work with have been brilliant about the whole thing. What I especially like is that everybody knows about the MS and nobody pussy foots around it. In fact it’s treated in a light hearted way and that’s just the way I want it to be.
One of the things that has been a real game changer and allowed me to reduce my hours without affecting our financial position came from a conversation after I was diagnosed. My best friend from university said “my colleagues’ sister in law got diagnosed with MS and she got her mortgage paid off”.
This got me thinking. So I checked our policy and Multiple Sclerosis was covered under the Critical Illness terms. We submitted the claim and to cut a long story short – our mortgage has been paid off.
Like you, I am just an ordinary person living an extraordinary life. Never think that these things don’t happen to people like you. Because they do.
What does the future hold for me and my family? I don’t know and quite frankly I don’t care. All I know is that today we’ve been to Durham and had an afternoon in rowing boats on the river. There is a roast dinner currently being prepared by David and Ella whilst I sit here and type this. What more could a 40 year old lady ask for?
I’d like to thank Maxine for taking the time to write this and sharing her story. I hear stories every week about people and some awful things that happen to them but Maxine is one of those people who has almost embraced her illness and just continued to live her life, such an inspiration.
In the blog Maxine mentioned that she and David had a critical illness policy that paid off their mortgage. If you would like to know more about this type of insurance, how it works and how it could be shaped to fit your circumstances please give me a call or drop me an email and I will be happy to help.
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