The diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS) aged just 26 changed the path of Andy’s life forever. Working as a mechanic for his Dad, Andy lost his balance every time he pulled himself out from under a car.
“Dad, and my wife June, insisted I saw a doctor, and after some tests and scans, I was told, ‘you have MS and you’ll never have children. There is nothing we can do for you’.”
That was 26 years ago. Andy now has three beautiful daughters. He is making the best of his life, with the help of the St Clare Hospice and the Living Well programme.
A Hospice is for ‘living well’
“I didn’t want to think about having Multiple Sclerosis (MS) for a long time. I didn’t want to think of myself as ill. When my MS nurse suggested St Clare got in touch with me, she told me ‘they’re not just for cancer you know’.”
“The first step was when the Occupational Heath team came and saw me. They assessed me and got me a comfy chair. I’d had an unsuccessful blood test many years ago, that led to a big wound on my arm, and then as they tried to fix that, another on my leg. Neither surgery worked so I have limited mobility at times.”
“I’ve been on two 6 week courses in the hospice itself. The first was the Fatigue and Breathlessness one, and then, recently, I’ve been on a Living Well course at the Wellbeing Hub.”
“Once you sit back and listen to the others talking you understand they are going through what you are. You may be sitting in a chair on your own, but you are not on your own.”
“You are with a group of people who understand what you are going through, and what you need to understand to carry on.”
“St Clare has given me a better quality of life because you get an understanding of why you are feeling so tired or breathless. They’re such good sessions.”
“They start with a whiteboard and there is a topic, and then they ask ‘what does that mean to you?’. We go through it one by one and although there may be 10-12 words up there, they all link and it all comes to the same conclusion as to how you are going to tackle it, get through it. Which makes a lot more sense. It makes things better and easier.”
“It’s such a good course to come along to I can’t praise it enough.”