I always wanted to be a mother. I never saw myself as not having children and I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would be a mama living with a chronic illness with no cure.
August 2012: At the age of 26, I was young fit active and loving my job and life. I was travelling for work in Townsville and during a morning run I noticed pin and needle like feelings in my feet. Thinking it was just the heat and maybe shin splints, I continued on with my day. I finished working and when sat down on the plane home to relax and the pins and needles started creeping higher and higher up my body. Then I started to lose feeling in my feet, legs and torso. Thinking this wasn’t normal, once I arrived back in Brisbane, my Husband collected me from the airport and I told him what was happening. He said lets monitor it and if it gets worse we will call 13 HEALTH. The next morning it didn’t feel any better and I pretty much had lost feeling from my chest down. We called 13 HEALTH and they called an Ambulance straight away. I was taken to the local hospital and then transfer to the larger city hospital to find out what was happening. After many tests, they thought that I may have Multiple Sclerosis but as it was only 1 attacked it couldn’t be diagnosed yet. I was in hospital for over a week with a course of steroids to give me feeling and use back.
Fast forward to March 2014 (after my son was born in August 2013), I had a change in an MRI with new disease activity so was officially diagnosed and had to start medication to try and stop the disease progression.
Living with MS is hard in itself but being a mother with MS is even harder. MS is really an invisible disease and I’m sure a lot of people don’t know what MS is or if they have known people who have had it they are older and have terrible issues with walking, eating and toileting.
Multiple Sclerosis is a disease of the nervous system. MS happens when your immune system attacks a fatty material called myelin. Myelin is the protective coating on your nerves and without Myelin your nerves becomes damaged and scar tissue can form. The damage means that your brain cannot send signals through your body properly and can cause symptoms such as trouble walking, fatigue, muscle weakness and spasms, blurred vision, numbness and tingling, poor bladder control and problems with focusing and remembering just to name a few things. Why people get MS is unknown and it attacks more women than men, in their prime years of between 20 and 40 years old.
To look at me I look fairly normal. However I suffer from terrible body numbness and tingling with constant tingling in my hands and feet that doesn’t go away and won’t ever go away.
I lose feeling very easily in my hands and feet. I have terrible fatigue, headaches and my body gets tired easily. I also have trouble focusing on tasks and remembering things that were told to me. I make lots of lists!
Despite all of this, I feel so incredibly blessed that I was able to have children and even though I have some challenges, being a mother to Isaac and Emilia is the greatest gift in the world.
Keeping fit and healthy is not only important for me to look after my kids; it also helps me manage this disease much better. Even though there is no cure (yet), with modern medicine and new break through’s all the time, it could be just around the corner.
More information + support
Would you like to support MS research? Last year Lauren participated in Moonlight Walk and raised over $1000. It would be great to have a Mama Tribe team involved this year! If you’re interested, create an event in your local group.
Name: Lauren Broadbent.
Location: Brisbane Bayside.
Mama to: Isaac (4) and Emilia (9 months).
Career, interests, hobbies and quirks: I work in Work Health and Safety and Quality Assurance for a manufacturing firm.
Five words to describe being a mama: Tiring, Hard yet so rewarding