In October 2007, while serving with the army in Germany, I had an attack on the brain stem, which came out of the blue. I spent 2 weeks in hospital having many tests. I had acute double vision, euphoria, giving a sensation of being drunk (which I certainly was not!) loss of co-ordination and balance, slurred and incoherent speech and bladder incontinence, to list but a few. The result of all the tests was suspected Multiple Sclerosis. My neurologist suggested that I went home and learned to live with it. If I wanted more information I should look it up on the internet.
This sounded very harsh and cold at the time, but in hind sight it was the best advice he could have given me. This is because by doing this we found the link to the Armed Forces MS Mutual Support Group. I phoned the Support Group and spoke to a lady called Heather, who also has MS. It was a huge relief to talk to someone who understood what I was going through. Over the years Heather has guided me through a very stressful period of being moved back to the UK with my family, a stay of about 6 months at Headley Court and my medical discharge procedure.
Heather has always been there at the end of the phone to advise and help me with problems with medication, new symptoms which have appeared, problems with military housing, my army pension and medical checks. Suzanne was very helpful and proficient at filling in the very complicated DLA forms and securing the allowances for me and other members of the group have given assistance as well. Once I was medically discharged the support continued, especially with my war pension, which has been reviewed several times with the help of Mutual Support.
Thanks to this I am now financially secure, which is a massive relief, as I am unable to work. We go to residential weekends which are held by Mutual Support. These are very informative and enjoyable. We have met some wonderful people and made many friends. I have had many emotional problems. Mutual Support has shown me a huge amount of warmth and sympathy which has helped me to cope at difficult times. Without them I don’t know where I would be now and I certainly would not be living as comfortably as I am. My family and I owe them a huge debt of gratitude.