What is it like to be there for someone you love who has MS? Finding out that anyone has been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition can be incredibly daunting, and multiple sclerosis is no exception.
My middle son, David, has always been a joyful, kind, fun guy in the family. When he was diagnosed MS six years ago, neither of us understood the impact it was going to have in our lives.
The effects of Multiple Sclerosis are varied and unpredictable which affects the central nervous system, and no two people with MS will have the same symptoms. In my son's case, muscles stiffness and spasms in his legs have been the symptoms.
He carried on living a normal life for the first few years, but as his condition has been progressing, he had to leave his retail job. His doctor has also advised him not to drive anymore.
The condition has brought us closer as a family, and my most prominent role as a mother has been to provide emotional support, staying confident and trying to keep him in a positive frame of mind.
He has separated from his partner, but he is fortunate to live with his two eldest sons who are always attentive to his needs. I am grateful for this, as I am also caring for my husband who had a total hip replacement operation recently and has developed age-related macular degeneration in his left eye.
At some point, I was torn between my career and my loved one's needs. Financially speaking turning down opportunities can have a significant impact on lifetime earnings. In fact, Experts caution that people who sacrifice their career to care for an elder spouse, parent or another family member may find themselves, in turn, without adequate resources to fund their own retirement.
A balancing act between Independence & Responsibility has been a priority for us as a family.
My son is now researching the support services that are available and professional in-home care as he wants to maintain the ability to live as safely and comfortably as possible. His priority is to free his boys for much of the responsibility that falls on them at the moment.
My husband is doing his best to gain his independence after his operation, and he is aware that I have a lot of responsibilities on my shoulders at the moment, so he offers to help to ease the load.
I have been creating practical steps to give us peace of mind. I was also looking for my own independence particularly on the financial aspect when I came across an opportunity that has allowed me the freedom to work from home and to be there for my loved ones.
We have two other sons who live away from us, but while most of us would like to think we are independent, the reality is we are in this together.
Do you or anyone you know has been facing similar challenges? You can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to share your story.
With much appreciation