Cambridgeshire woman tells of the moment two years ago she was diagnosed with MS ‘it felt like being plugged into an electric current’
PUBLISHED: 13:25 18 April 2019
A Cambridgeshire woman has spoken of the moment two years ago when she was diagnosed with MS – and her gratitude for the charity that has supported her.
Lara Kingsman, 48, is a part time music teacher, and lives in Histon, with her husband and three children, two of which are at university. Lara's also been a carer for the last fourteen years.
Lara's always been quite a sporty person. She used to be on the swimming and netball team in school, and cycled from Histon into Cambridge whenever she had the opportunity to. Additionally, she's been an active runner for more than 20 years while working as a Zumba instructor.
But life was to change when she was diagnosed two years ago, a week before Good Friday.
“I just woke up at 8 o'clock on the Saturday and couldn't feel a lot in my body,” she said.
“There was a lot of tingling and numbness and my first assumption was that I had it from a run the day before which made me feel really uncomfortable.
“I went to see my local osteopath and he recommended that I see a GP, and I remember it being a Saturday morning a week before Easter.”
Lara said: “It felt like I was being plugged into an electric current, and the when I saw the GP, the GP told me to go home, and told me he would refer me to a neurologist before Easter.
“Before I was able to do that I decided I had to go to A & E because I just felt so uncomfortable.”
She said: “I had a MRI scan on my head and my spine which determined I had a lumber puncture. MRI scans can tell if you have certain things in your spinal fluid, and that was how I was diagnosed.
“Once the MRI came through they could tell I had it”
Over the last two years she has been forced to give up running and aerobic activity and says the adjustments mentally have been more difficult than the physical adjustments.
“MS just hurts overall – but it especially hurts my feet with too much bouncing. My main symptoms are fatigue and tingling in my foot and overall fatigue is another thing I find really hard to deal with,” she says.
“The fatigue you have is just unbelievable, and when it's bad, no one can really describe what that's like.
You just don't have the energy to do much at all, and you're just in bed for week. It's too much effort to go up and down the stairs, and you just have no energy. I once managed to go downstairs one day, I poured myself some cereal, and as I was lifting a spoon, I realised I didn't even have the energy to eat.”
But she says she is grateful to the MS Trust that has offered her support including nurses who specialise in MS.
“They are so good for your sanity and give a holistic overview with how you're coping physically and mentally,” says Lara.
“When you're first diagnosed with MS it's so overwhelming and they provide excellent literature which is brilliant – anything from fatigue such as the different sorts of MS, how to tell your family or how to go to appointments”
The MS Trust has helped her with everything from phone support to dealing with financial maters.
She is also fighting back having with yoga part of her routine which she now does twice weekly “which helps with my balance, and especially with vertigo. Just stretching your body so you don't get aches and pains is really helpful”.
She has spoken out as part of MS Awareness Week “which brings light to these unseen illnesses that people don't necessarily see on a day-to-day basis.
“When it comes to disability, people notice you in a wheelchair but don't necessarily notice illnesses that we can't see.
“There's so much juggling with your day-to-day life, and juggling medical appointments can make it so much harder.
“The MS Trust is brilliant in trying to find a cure, so I'm very grateful for anyone who supports these societies.
“'m very lucky because I'm still mobile and I'm not in constant pain every day, but I'm aware I have a degenerative illness and I'm aware of a time where that [constant pain may happen.”
FOOTNOTE: Around 110,000 people in the UK have MS. New research shows exercise can help reduce fatigue for people with MS
MS Trust launched its exercise campaign for MS Awareness Week April 22-28.
To find out more about exercise and MS, see www.mstrust.org.uk/exercise.