So it’s #Msawarenessweek and my best friend and #mswarrior (no more hashtags from now on, I promise!) has asked me to write a little something about what it’s like when your bestie gets diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis….

So anyone that knows or has ever known Rachel will tell you she’s a high flying, never stops, always doing something, energy filled machine! For years I’ve taunted her over her inability to keep still, joking that she has undiagnosed ADHD. So when she was literally forced onto her back in hospital last year and couldn’t walk, we laughed at how she was litetally forced to stop (laughing might seem inappropriate but we’ve laughed our way through every single thing in life , bad back & MS has been no different).

You’ve all read through the diagnosis period so I won’t go through that again as I’m sure you can all imagine how horrendous that was for all of us close to Rachel. I was scared, I cried and I bloody missed her so much! Not because I didn’t see her , I was at her side as much as I could be….. but me and Rach talk so much throughout the day we literally know each other’s every movement, every meal, every drama of the day, literally everything! I missed just being able to talk the usual nonsense to her all day, instead of every phone call being ‘what’s the latest? When’s the next MRI? What ward am I going to tonight?’. I felt like I’d lost my right arm. 

When she finally got out of The Walton Centre and back into the real world, she was literally itching to get back to normal. Which filled me equally with relief and fear and I’m sure the others around her felt the same. Relief that she’s still Rach & still can’t sit still… but fear that she’s going to over do it and she’s going to end up really sick again. 

So the year since the Dx has seen Rachel with more relapses than is definitely common. For me this has meant I’ve had a fast track eduction in MS and what it means to those who live with it. I’ve also had to fast track learn how to be the best friend I can possibly be, to someone with MS… so to any other #matesofMS (ooh look another hash tag slipped in! I’m so down with it) here is my advice to you;

1. Be there! … it sounds simple but Rachel’s hospital stay and the appearance of this third wheel in our friendship has meant I’ve truly learnt what this means. If your friend NEEDS a pot noodle, you take one to the ward. If your friend needs to phone you and cry and hate the world, you listen. If your friend needs a distraction then keep them busy and always keep your door open to them.

2. Take off the kid gloves…. I’m a natural worrier, so my first instinct is always to tell Rach to stop what she’s doing and rest. I now know all the ways she can tell me to ‘do one’ without swearing 🙂 Ive learnt now that absolutely nothing can break her, and the only thing that will stop her in her tracks is a hospital admission, so I’m certainly wasting my breath ha ha!

3. Stay positive… Until this last year I didn’t realise the abundance of negative MS stories that are in the press. I suppose we would just skim over them before now, but now they come with screaming loud headlines to us! Keep reminding your friend that not every MS story is the same and to look for all the positives around them.

4. But ….. sometimes it’s just rubbish and wallowing is ok. In this case cut the lemon for the gin (or your friends preferred refreshment) and listen.

That’s me for now! Whilst Rachel sets up her MS coffee mornings / wine evenings/ whatever, I’m going to set up a #matesofMS group where we can talk about how we deal with our friends suddenly wearing eye patches and support each other through the relapses as we are missing our right arms! (I joke,I joke! Rachel works the eye patch like an absolute pro anyway) 

Natalie xx

The Blonde Who Blogs

9 comments on “17. When your best friend gets MS…”

  1. Love the post and sound advice Natalie Never tell a girl like rach to stop or slow down!! At the end of the day everyone knows their limits so get on with life and let them tell you when it’s time for a break, there’s nothing worse than being told what’s good for you so learning to step back and let ‘sick’ people go about their normal lives is the only way not wallowing.
    We have one life and it should be lived no matter what is thrown at us and our loved ones – live every day as if it’s your last and not as a what if!
    Great post and one I’m sure so many can relate to and great to see it from another perspective.x

    • Thank you Fi! It’s so true isn’t it, I’m proud to say that Rachel definitely grabs life by the balls and has been no different with MS! X

  2. Amazing support from your friend, you just bottle that enough! Please do let me know details of the events and if I can make it I will any way to help you raise awareness! PMA all the way love moi xx

  3. Brilliant blog Natalie. Firstly i admire yours and Rachel’s friendship, she’s so lucky to have a friend as wonderful as you. A lot of friends hear a diagnosis and turn on their heals, and you don’t hardly see or hear from them anymore. But you, like many other decent friends play such a big part in the coping/dealing with ms strategy and being there to give Rachel the support she needs.You’ve given some great advice and information in your blog. And i don’t think i stand alone when i say it would be nice to hear from you again in the future. Lots of love to you and Rach xxxxx

    • Thank you so much Ellie that’s such a lovely thing so say. I tell Rachel how lucky she is to have me on a daily basis…. thanks for the back up ha ha ha x

  4. I love this and I’m really lucky too to have good friends who know exactly when to smother me or leave me alone…. it makes our worlds a nicer place having good friends like you to support us in this rollercoaster x

  5. Great read Natalie. It’s a lovely friendship you have with Rachel and you’ve been there for the beginning during her journey. That sort of friendship is priceless. You’re both lucky to have each other and I bet you’re both a scream on a night out! Keep up the good work both of you x

  6. What an amazing friend!!!! Nat you are one in a million and I’m so thankful that Rach has got you in her life!!!
    Love you you Nat xxxxxxxxx.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *