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“I love being out there.”
I'd started to play golf before I got diagnosed, and I played very badly. After my diagnosis, I searched for disabled golf, and the rest is history. It's been the best thing I've done. It gives me something to focus on, and it's a great circle of friends. I haven't improved, but that's almost irrelevant. I just love being out there and playing.
I play with other people that have disabilities – they've lost limbs, they've had strokes. We don't talk about our disabilities or our ailments. It's just great to be with like-minded people sometimes and just have a laugh. That's why I enjoy it.
I've been a nurse since I left school at 18, and I've been a Macmillan nurse for the past 14 years. I deal mainly with cancer patients. They have cancer of the stomach, gullet, liver, and pancreas. I often tell people their diagnosis.
I was diagnosed with MS in 2011, by a rheumatologist at my hospital, because when I was playing golf I was getting painful elbows. He sent me for an MRI thinking it was something related to my elbows, and it showed lesions. Then I saw a neurologist who said I’d had MS for six years. That helped me in a way, because I thought, “well I've had it for six years and I didn't know about it.”
I was a ward sister at the time, but because of my numb fingers I couldn't undo the medicine pots on the drug trolley or do the buttons up on patients’ pyjamas and things like that. I was able to transfer to a cancer post I was already doing part time. I left the ward and became a full-time nurse specialist.
My job is a big part of my life. It gives me purpose and focus. It keeps me grounded as well, regarding my diagnosis.
You have to try and remain positive. I know sometimes that's really difficult, and there are days when you can't, but I think my message for anyone diagnosed with MS is: don't be scared. It is scary, I know that, but it's okay. You will get through it. There are so many things you can do. It's not the end of the road at all.
The person who organises the disabled golf has got progressive MS. It was him that started it. We're always trying to get people involved – we're always putting it out there that yes, you can play. You can have a buggy - you don't even have to walk around. Try it.
“The brighter, the better.”
“I do everything people say you shouldn’t do.”
“I’m proud of what I’ve achieved.”
“This doesn’t stop me being a dad.”
“I can still play the game.”
“If you’re not happy with yourself, you’re not happy.”
“I see life through many lenses.”