|"I honestly don’t know how I managed before my MS Occupational Therapist came into my life and started helping me navigate the difficulties that come with having MS."|
Rania was 19 years old when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, the most common chronic neurological disease experienced by young Australians.
Her symptoms – migraines, dizziness and numbness – first appeared while Rania was studying her Bachelor of Communications and Public Relations degree at Monash University, but she lived many years in denial. When she was first diagnosed, Rania didn't cry for herself but instead reached to comfort her mother, who now had two daughters diagnosed with this invisible illness.
Rania has been using MS Services for a few years now, and while each relapse is challenging, she continues to find strength and wisdom on her journey.
“I honestly don’t know how I managed before my MS Occupational Therapist came into my life and started helping me navigate the difficulties that come with having MS. From the beginning they were able to make my home life comfortable, setting me up with a home office so when I was unable to go into work, I would have a good space to work in. The following year I had a bad relapse and lost feeling in my left side so they thought the best assistance would be to get me a Personal Trainer to help build up my strength and gain my mobility back,” says Rania.
It's not just physical symptoms that occur for people living with multiple sclerosis, mental wellbeing can be impacted too.
“The MS Occupational Therapist pin-pointed that I was struggling mentally, and shared coping techniques as well as setting me up with a yoga membership,” says Rania.
“These are just a few of things that they have helped me with to live better with MS. My MS Occupational Therapist and I have weekly contact and monthly face to face catch ups just to check in and make sure I am ok. I have had three MS Occupational Therapists over the years, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the care and compassion each one has shown me. They just get it!”
We wanted to share with you how Rania and her family are staying well during these challenging times.
How are you personally keeping healthy during this time?
“This time to be honest has been quite difficult and it is a constant effort to try and stay well. Physically, it has been hard because my fortnightly myotherapy has stopped, which has caused my body to become really stiff and elevated a lot of nerve pain that is also amplified by the weather getting colder. To tackle this, I have tried to emulate my hot yoga classes by putting the heater up and doing yoga classes from an app. I have been making sure I stay on top of all my green juices, vitamins and drinking lots of water. Where possible I have been going for walks to clear the mind.”
What tips can you provide for a happy mindset?
“Over the years, I have found ways to continue to stay positive when you’re so unsure of your health, which has come in handy during COVID 19. I practice gratitude daily, I manifest all I am looking forward to once this over which is what I usually do during a relapse or after treatment when I’m not feeling good. I rest when I’m tired and when I have the energy, I do something productive that I enjoy.”
“Finding little joys in each day is also helpful. For me, my morning coffee brings me joy: I make sure I make it and sit down to enjoy it, before I start work or turn my laptop on. I’ve been trying different beans in my machine. Just small things can help keep your mind off what is troubling.”
“When I wake up every day, I put my speaker up loud and listen to music that gets me motivated and puts me in a good mood. I made an isolation playlist full of all my favourites and follow lots of upbeat Spotify playlists.”
How are you keeping contact with your network, friends and family?
“I am very close to my family so not seeing my parents for weeks has been extremely difficult, as I’d just had a round of Ocrevus and they’re considered elderly. We FaceTime a lot, but it is never the same as spending actual time together.”
“I have group WhatsApp calls with family and friends. Firstly, we make sure we’re all staying sane – especially my sisters who have kids being home schooled and are teachers themselves. We’ve been sharing lots of our cooking adventures, baking lots and sharing food through contactless drops-offs. It’s definitely not easy so it makes you really appreciate the close connections you have and the importance of your support network.”
Remember to check in with your loved ones regularly, especially during this time. If you or someone you know is living with MS and needs a little extra care, reach out to our free helpline MS Connect on 1800 042 138.
Thank you for your ongoing support!
By taking part in the MS Walk Run + Roll, we’re able to ensure that Rania and other Aussies living with multiple sclerosis feel connected along every stage of their journey, from diagnosis to living well.
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