Pat’s 60-year journey with MS
Patricia Lamb is a member of the Moreton Bay Support Group and has been living with MS for 60 years. Pat hasn’t shared her story until now but decided she wanted to share her story to show others that you can live a long and healthy life with MS.
When were you diagnosed with MS and what was it like?
I was diagnosed in 1999 after suffering a heart attack but had been living with symptoms since 1959. I was speaking with the Cardiologist while recovering and I asked him a few questions. A couple of these made him look at me and then he called in the Neuro Team. I was given the usual tests and diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS (RRMS).
When my Neuro gave me the news I thanked him as I now had a label and it wasn’t all in my head as I was beginning to fear. Until I was diagnosed, practically all my test results came back NAD (No Abnormality Detected).
Do you remember your first symptoms?
I started experiencing symptoms as a teenager with what I now know to be the dreaded MS hug. Then in 1959 I gave birth to my son who was classed as a difficult birth (extended breach with forceps) – quite a distressing time. For many years after that I noticed things like migraines, double vision, fatigue, loss of strength and bladder problems. My memory was letting me down and having a rather stressful job I found I needed to write everything down.
Some more symptoms experienced over the years include balance, hand/eye co-ordination, cognitive function problem, lack of motivation, constant pain all over body, muscle spasms, MS Hug, Ataxia, vertigo, hot/cold sensitivity, itching all over (particularly head) pins and needles, anxiety and depression, loss of strength in arms and legs, nervous in traffic, slurring speech, crawling sensations, loss of appetite, trouble swallowing, finding the right word then not being able to say it, heavy legs.
Why did you get involved with MS Queensland?
I try to live my life by being positive and helping others understand this condition. Not one person has believed me when I’ve told them my age as they say I’m such a positive role model.
MS Queensland has helped me as and when needed. I’ve had financial assistance in renovating my bathroom and the purchase of a new carbon fibre wheelie walker.
I chose to get involved in fundraising for MS Queensland last year at the MS Swimathon, then this year I just had a thought and said to myself “just do it”. So I organised a morning tea for World MS Day and I thought I might be able to raise $100. I nearly had another heart attack when I realised it was $1,100. This was made up of donations at the morning tea, donations from friends and family and a very large donation of $500.00 from the Village at Redcliffe where I live.
It was a very rewarding experience and it certainly raised awareness with the residents and all concerned at The Village and I’m so grateful to Management and staff for their help. I’ve received a lot of feedback like “I never knew you had MS” and “but you look so well”. It’s a bit frustrating but I’ve learned to smile and say thank you.