Gary Williams on his journey from diagnosis in the 1980s to the present day
I was 28 when I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). That was in 1985, in the decade that fashion forgot, but one that sticks forever in my mind.
My symptoms started a year earlier. I was having a shave one morning and noticed that the pupil in my right eye was huge, whereas the one in my left was tiny. Unusual for a Tuesday, I thought, and when I blinked and looked again, the pupils had changed and the left was huge.
At first, I was just mildly amused but, as time went on, I began to question whether or not something was going on. I started having spasms and my body would cramp up quite painfully. To cut a short story long, I had all the usual tests, a lumbar puncture, and it transpired I had MS. My doctor gave me the news in the best way for me. He asked what I thought it was and what I would prefer it to be. I told him I was worried about it being a tumour as I had many brain scans, and also that it may be MS. He asked which I would prefer of those options and I answered, “MS, as removal of a tumour may alter my personality.” (Something which may have been welcomed by many!). He answered, “Well, congratulations, you have won your first choice”. Perfect way to tell me.
The first six weeks after my diagnosis were strange. It seemed to affect others far more than it did me. I spent most of that time comforting people, putting my arms around their shoulders and telling them everything was going to be fine. I suppose we were all stumbling around in the dark, as no one knew what we were dealing with. No one thinks about these things until they affect you or someone close to you personally.
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