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Amira’s laughing her way through MS

29th June 2018

Newly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, only seven months ago, Amira understands how those first few months can change your life. But her positive outlook has left her to reassess her life goals and pursue a new career doing what she loves - while making sure to continue laughing along the way.

Amira was in her early 20s, and a soon-to-be university graduate when she was diagnosed with MS in July 2017. For years she had been living with fatigue, muscle pain and many other symptoms with no explanation, but it was the day after her final university exam that everything was finally made clear.

Nine years’ prior, doctors has found a scar behind Amira’s left eye which was initially dismissed. After years of concerning symptoms, Amira underwent test after test for a number of different illnesses as doctors began to eliminate the other alternatives one by one. It wasn’t until her doctor finally prescribed an MRI that they found extensive scarring of Amira’s brain. This ultimately led to doctors discovering that she has been living with MS for the past nine years.

A rollercoaster of emotions soon flooded Amira, as she was experiencing both a sense of relief and a sense of loss. “While the diagnosis was overwhelming at first, I was also relieved to finally have insight in to the symptoms I had carried for so long without answers,” Amira said.

For the first month after her diagnosis, Amira couldn’t help but feel grief for the life she once knew and would find herself crying often. Days before her diagnosis, she was looking forward to graduating from her degree and following her dream of teaching young boys and girls to speak English in Japan. However, her diagnosis now meant that she would have to reassess the life plans she had already set in motion and ultimately let go of her dream to teach overseas.

Amira lives by the philosophy that when faced with a tough situation you can either laugh and accept it, or you can cry. “One day I was talking to my best friend about my MS diagnosis and she joked that if I ever needed a wheelchair I should have large flames painted on the side. This is when I realised that I could laugh and make jokes about it,” Amira said.

“Now, I find that too much sympathy can make me feel like there is something wrong with me; but making jokes and laughing about my diagnosis makes me feel normal.”

After meeting with her neurologist, Amira was introduced to the MS Society SA/NT. She was assigned to one of our MS nurses who provided her with the support and information she needed about the services the MS Society provides.

“I attended an information session for the newly diagnosed, provided by the MS Society, which gave me advice about the supports and grants available to me,” Amira said.

“This was by far the most valuable service provided to me in the early days of my diagnosis as I was finding it difficult to find the answers I needed from the internet. The information session provided much needed clarity.”

The MS Support Facebook group has also allowed Amira the ability to chat to likeminded peers. She now has advice and support from others with MS at her fingertips, allowing her to get the answers she needs quickly.

Today, she is focusing on studying to become a pastry chef, and researching government grants to begin her new career. Amira’s advice to other people newly diagnosed with MS is “if you need to cry, cry – but not for too long. Make sure to focus on the good parts; and definitely seek help when you need it.”

If you are newly diagnosed with MS like Amira, and need support, please contact MS Assist on 1800 812 311 or at msassist@ms.asn.au to find out more about your support options. Back to News stories
Amira’s laughing her way through MS