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Sarah's Story

Sarah is 33 and lives in Northampton in the UK.

I was 15 years old when I developed a nasty sore throat that wouldn't respond to the normal antibiotics. This went on for 3 weeks, with trips back and forth to the doctor with my mum.

Then one night, I was standing at the back door with my little brother who was 2 at the time, looking at some fireworks that were going off. It was not Guy Fawkes night yet, it was only October, but they seemed to have been going off every night for the past few weeks. I had been standing there for about half and hour when my legs started to play up. It was like having worms inside them. So I went to bed to rest.

The next morning Mum came to wake me. She sat me up on the edge of the bed but I just fell backwards hitting my head on the wall behind me. I was paralysed almost completely. I couldn't even keep my mouth closed.

Mum phoned the doctor again. He said that I was probably dehydrated and that was what was causing the problem. I had not been for a pee in nearly 24 hours so my tummy was swollen. A a nurse was called in to put in a catheter. But she couldn't fit it so I was taken into hospital.

When I got there they weren;t bothered about me going for a pee. They were more concerned about why I was paralysed. They had no clue so I was sent from the Northampton Genral Hospital to the Radcliff Infirmary in Oxford. I lasted 24 hours on a ward before my breathing started to suffer so I was rushed to theartre for a tracostamy and put in intensive care. I was there for 2 weeks and in that time I nearly died twice.

I had every doctor they had come to look at me and no-one had a clue what was wrong. I had loads of test and the put me on a very high dose of steroids. After a time I started to get better and was put back on a ward .

After a while I was back in Northampton, but was still paralysed from the waist down. I had physiotherapy to help bulid my muscles. It took about 6 weeks before I could walk anything like normal (well if you can call it normal).

Six months on, I was trying my best to put it all behind me and get on with my life. I got a job as an office junior in a shoe factory not to far from where I lived. I was fine for a while and life was good. But it didn't last long. My legs started to play up again and I was getting very tired all the time. So back to my doctor I went, who examined me and said my legs were not behaving how they should.

I was sent back to the neuro I saw over in Oxford, and had to start having tests again. That was in '87 and things got steadily worse.

I had met someone while I was working and we started to date. He was 10 years older than me, but he was great. After 12 months I moved in with him. I went from job to job for some years. Then I fell pregant with our daughter. I was 24 now. I had a long labour. Afterwards I was very ill and very tired. All this really sent me downhill fast, so it was back to the tests again. Like the first lot they still showed nothing.

This has been going on now for 18 years and I'm now 33. They are still don't know the cause of my symptoms but I've now been told that it looks like I have MS. I also have have Raynauds and Spondylosis of the spine.

But i try to keep positive, and try to live my life the best I can. I have a lovely husband who stands by me no matter what. I'm hoping that all the tests will come to an end soon.

I hope that writing down my story will help others in some way.

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