In this guest blog, Gemma tells us why she is running the British 10K 2017 for MS-UK…
Hi my name is Gemma, and I’m going to be taking part in the British 10K 2017 for MS-UK.
In April 2005 I met James. From the moment we met we just clicked as if we had known each other for years. There and then I knew I had met my best friend and the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and we have been together ever since.
In December 2006 I finished work as usual and walked home to get dinner on, ready for when James arrived home from work. When he stepped in the door I noticed that half of his face had dropped. At first I thought he had had a mini stroke!
While we waited for the taxi to beep that it was here, to take us up to A&E we discussed what it could be. ‘MS’ James said. His mum passed away when he was 9 years old. She had MS and was bed ridden. She had pneumonia and was not strong enough to fight it when she sadly passed away.
At the hospital he was told that he had to stay in over night to be monitored to then have an MRI test in the morning. I had to say goodbye and that night I stayed with my in-laws.
In the morning my phone rang. It was James. I answered it and he was just sobbing. At first I couldn’t make out what he was saying. ‘Demyelination’ he said. ‘What does that mean?’ I replied. ‘MS’.
That was the day our life changed for ever. At first we thought it was a death sentence. But it isn’t, it just means that you have to grab hold of life now!
In November 2007 we had our first child, a beautiful baby girl. But James was struggling at work. He is a fully qualified chef and has a passion for food. But little did we know that the heat/stress of the kitchen was flaring up his MS. So he went into butchery the following year but this also became difficult too. This was hard for me to watch.
In September 2009 we had our second child, a handsome baby boy. Our family was complete but James was now having 3-5 relapses a year. He was told to give up work. Every time he got over one e.g. loss of legs, sight. Another would hit him. I was now not working, to care for him too. He was also now on beta interferons injections. These were very painful and didn’t seem to be slowing the disease down, this scared me.
In August 2010 we moved from Norfolk to Hertfordshire. New doctors, new neurologist, new MS Nurse, it wasn’t easy. The relapses were still happening violently, especially on his left side.
In June 2011 James started Natalizumab (Tysabri) infusions every 28 days, these have been working, thankfully he hasn’t had a relapse since starting them.
It’s now 2017 and for the first time I feel like we have got this. Don’t get me wrong it’s still a massive hurdle in our life and there are good days and bad but you just have to try your best to adapt, to find a way to try and be a so-called ‘normal’ family.
I am doing this run now as I feel the time is right. James is my hero, he never moans, he just takes it one day at a time. I’m so proud of him and the way he handles it. Now it’s my turn to make him proud and be his hero.
I also want to show our children if you put your mind to something you can achieve anything.