Multiple Sclerosis : Marie Carmen's Story
I am a 35-year-old Spanish woman and this is my story.
I was born prematurely, at seven months, and while I was in the incubator I suffered broncho-pulmonary dysplasia and for a few seconds my brain didn't receive sufficient oxygen. As a consequence of this I had delayed motor development. I began to walk at the age of two and a half although with difficulty.
At the age of 14 they operated on both my legs and elongated my Achilles tendons. This helped me to walk better.
I had a happy childhood and never felt out of place because of my walking problems. I always had the full support of my parents, my brother and sister and my friends.
The first symptoms of multiple sclerosis developed when I was 27 - loss of balance, tingling in my hands and feet, incontinence and frequent headaches. In my case four years passed from the appearance of the first symptoms until the diagnosis. When I first had an MRI scan it showed nothing abnormal. But I kept falling over and later scans confirmed the diagnosis.
Over time I lost the strength in my legs and five years ago I became confined to a wheelchair.
My mother was the first person to be told what was happening. Her world came crashing down but she never caved in and from the start she has given me the spirit to fight from day to day. My husband, my parents and my brother and sister are at my side supporting me and it's this which gives me the strength and will to live.
I think that the most important thing is to live from day to day with hope and without becoming obsessed about what might happen tomorrow. I put my faith in medical advances and I hope that one day, in the not too distant future, they will find a cure for this and other degenerative diseases.