19 Nov, 2020
Elise's Multiple Sclerosis journey
Elise Osmond is an Australian primary school teacher diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis - in this new blog series she shares the story of her diagnosis and how she is now conquering her condition.
Hello! My name is Elise and I am so happy that you have joined me here. I am an Australian primary school teacher, who has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). No one ever thinks that one day they will wake up sick and never get better again, but this is what happened in my story. I wasn’t prepared for something so huge to happen to me. I went from being a very happy, fit and normal 27-year-old one day, to waking up completely blind in my right eye while on an overseas holiday. It was in a little Greek hospital, on the other side of the world from my home, where I received the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis and it was there that my life changed forever.
It was in a little Greek hospital, on the other side of the world from my home, where I received the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis and it was there that my life changed forever.
During my diagnosis, I struggled with the changes that it created, both mentally and physically. Mostly, I was scared of not knowing what it all meant. I didn’t understand the disease, or the impact that it would have on my life. I had gone into such a dark place and I was exhausted by the world. My friends were amazing, but they couldn’t get it. My family were so loving and supportive, but they couldn’t understand the internal battle that I was facing. I had no energy, my body was on fire with so many different, uncomfortable and painful sensations. I would bump, stumble and fall over nothing. I was struggling to process simple tasks and conversations, getting distracted easily and forgetting the simplest things. I was embarrassed at who I was becoming and, with no end in sight, I became withdrawn and isolated. I was lucky to be surrounded by incredible people, yet I felt like I was on my own and I would cry myself to sleep every night.
Things slowly began to change when I decided late one night, after writing a letter to myself, that I would do everything in my power to get some control back and challenge this disease. It meant months of research and arming myself with knowledge. It meant a complete reassessment of my then current lifestyle and, amazingly, it led me down a road to being a much happier, and in so many ways, a much healthier version of myself. I now think of it as my 'conquering MS game plan', a plan I have now begun to share with others. I realised that I could get my life back on track - it may not be the same track it once was - but I would be able to find whatever version of myself that I wanted to, and that I would be okay.
I want you to know that wherever you’re at, I promise you are not alone.
I started to share my journey with MS, through my account Breaking MS Barriers, to help support others going through something similar to me and to create awareness of MS. I have now joined forces with Sano Genetics, who work with many different key health communities and help to support and spark discussions on MS. You may be at the beginning of your MS journey like I was, or at the beginning of your own different autoimmune/ chronic illness journey. You may be feeling lost and confused about this different world that you now know and what it all means for you. Maybe you have a loved one that is starting this new journey and you want to know more about what you can do to help support them along this bumpy road. I want you to know that wherever you’re at, I promise you are not alone.
This journey so far has led me to become a more empowered and stronger version of myself and I found that sharing my story with others was an instrumental tool in both my own and others' growth. I hope that you enjoy my story and that it helps you to thrive in your new world.