On the day Queen Elizabeth visited Dublin, I was in the neurology ward of Beaumont Hospital, with intravenous steroids pumping into my arm. In the previous week, I had problems with my vision, and nausea and blinding headaches.

“Optic neuritis,” the ophthalmologist said. Too sick to ask questions, I went home to wait for an appointment with a neurologist. I didn’t ask why she was referring me on. When I googled ‘optic neuritis’, multiple sclerosis came up again and again. It was a slap in the face, but a jigsaw of seemingly unrelated medical complaints made sense. Nonetheless, it was a big shock to hear a neurologist in Beaumont tell me that I had lesions on my brain. My poor husband Ray thought I had a brain tumour.

In the days following my admission to hospital, well-meaning visitors !! said ‘sure, at least it’s not cancer’ They made me feel confused and ungrateful, because I was feeling very low. I spent my week there crying uncontrollably in the bathroom. I missed my children, four-year-old twins, Leon and Mya, terribly. But when my husband brought them in to see me, I asked him not to do so again — it was just too much for me. It was MS Awareness Week and my husband brought me information leaflets, but I was angry with him for ‘jumping the gun’, even though I knew in my heart it was true. (Examiner) >>>

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