We have some truly inspirational members on our groups, here is one of them, Vicki Smith,
This is my story…
I finished my apprenticeship in decorating in 2008. I was always very sporty and active. I met my (now) husband and had a break from decorating to raise my two children between 2010 and 2013. During this time, in Feb 2013 when my kids were 3 and 18 months old, I thought I was having a stroke and I went to A&E.
I was completely numb on my left side. The hospital did lots of tests straightaway but didn’t know what was causing the problem. They said it could be a number of things, including a brain tumor. I was left in limbo for a week, until I could have an MRI scan, which concluded that I had actually suffered my first attack from Multiple Sclerosis – leaving scars on my brain which were causing lots of symptoms including numbness, vision loss, fatigue and pain.
They had also discovered that my brain had herniated into my neck (Chiari Malformation) by 20mm. Anything past 22mm is very dangerous. I had to have brain surgery in the August, 2 months after my wedding. I shaved off all of my hair, to raise money for an MS charity, and donated my hair to The Little Princess Trust that make wigs for children with cancer. During surgery, they took away some of my skull, my c1 and c2 and even had to take away some of my cerebellum to stop the condition worsening and causing paralysis. It took me 8 days to get out of the hospital bed…..I hated it. I couldn’t even handle my kids visiting me because the noise they made was excruciating for my head. Two weeks later I developed meningitis, I was blue lighted to a&e, I was in and out of consciousness with a blood pressure of 60/40. Whilst recovering, we struggled a bit financially, we couldn’t get any sort of help because I was a stay at home mum for so long. But, we managed to cut back and somehow we got through it.
I was sick of my luck and wanted to get back to being healthy. So, in the October, I decided to enrol in the London Marathon for MSUK, a UK based MS charity. The training was slow and difficult, but by Feb 2014, I was running 20 miles a week. I then went on to complete the London Marathon in 6 1/2hrs – exactly 9 months after having surgery. It was an incredibly proud moment for me and I honestly believe that training and having something to focus on is what got me through the darkest time in my life.
This spurred me on to get back into decorating and setting up a business of my own. I honestly believe that if I hadn’t gone through all of this, I wouldn’t have taken the leap. Yes, it’s stressful at times, but it gives me the flexibility for my family and allows me to be a mum to my kids and a wife to my husband.
I’ve had some really dark times and needed a lot of help along the way, but it’s so important to seek help and be honest about how you’re feeling, it can be the hardest part but believe that it will get better from then on. Take the positives from every situation you can. Yes, I have MS but without it, the doctors wouldn’t have discovered the Chiari, and I could’ve been so much worse off. I feel very lucky… Have defiant hope!
by Vic Smith.
Vicki is a fabulous example of the strength we need to keep going, sh has kept pushing through even the darkest times, we are proud to be able to share her story here.