My Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis came on the June bank holiday Monday of 2016; a weekend that I will never forget for the rest of my life.
But here I am, one year on, feeling strong, healthy and totally in control of my future. And that is the greatest gift Overcoming MS has given me, control and management of my MS through my diet and lifestyle.
When I think back on my diagnosis, I could never have imagined being in a place where I am today.
I’m not going to pretend it’s been an easy year; adjusting to my medication and OMS diet and lifestyle is still a working progress; but I’m where I am today because of it and I am extremely grateful for that. I am very lucky to be able to say that I have had no new lesions in the past 12 months, and god willing, this stability will continue long into my future. I know there will most likely be tough times ahead but all I can do is live in the present and be grateful for this moment.
I really wanted to do something to mark my one year milestone, celebrating my progress and health, and what better way to do that than with 30,000 other women participating in the VHI women’s mini marathon, each for their own cause. The mini marathon is a 10K walk, jog or run around Dublin City Centre. I ran the course with my cousin, followed by 4 other family and friends who walked, for the charity Overcoming MS. Together we raised over 3000 euros for OMS, something I am extremely proud of. Raising funds for OMS was a token to thank them for all of the information and support they have given me over the past year. Words cannot express how grateful I am for every cent that was donated but also for all the kind words of encouragement I received. Every so often something happens in life to remind you how incredibly kind and generous people really are!
For me preparation is key, so I started my training about 8 weeks before the race. I have always enjoyed running, but it has become so much more important to me in the last year. Running is the best way for me to keep my body strong while simultaneously keeping my head clear. I planned my training around my fortnightly plegridy injection, I tried to avoid running for 2 days after my injection to minimise my fatigue. I generally ran at least twice a week; 1 short, fast run and 1 longer, slower run. A short run usually consisted of 3-5K at a fairly quick pace. A longer run would be 7-9K with weekly targets aimed towards the mini marathon. However, there were of course days when my fatigue was so bad that I couldn’t meet my targets, on these days I just tried to do a light jog or walk; its so important to listen to your body and recooperate whn your body needs it. I aimed to run the race in under 56 minutes so I based my training around this. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite make this goal, my time was 56.37, but that’s another challenge to aim towards for my next race.
The whole experience was so enjoyable for me, the training, the fundraising and being surrounded by so many supportive family and friends to celebrate the progress I have made and the future that I have ahead of me! It’s too easy to get down about the hard times, which is why I think it’s so important to celebrate and mark the good times. Hopefully these memories will stick with us to pull us through the tough times again. The mini marathon is something that I plan on participating in every year for as long as my body allows me and I am so grateful for having the opportunity this year.
Thanks you again from the bottom of my heart!!!
This article originally appeared on Siobhans Blog which you can follow here and is reproduced with permission.