Update from our beloved Ambassador, Mez
It’s crazy for me to think that it was only last year that I stood on a stage at the Kiss Goodbye to MS Launch Breakfast for The May 50K, and recounted my emotional journey with MS and pregnancy.
I described the heartache I felt when, in a whirlwind relapse situation, I was put in a position where I had to choose between using my hands again and keeping a pregnancy. The decision, the situation, the relapse, all felt very dark to me at the time. A memory that is heavily laden with sadness but also hope. That situation was a catalyst for me in many ways and encouraged me to stop and take stock of the kind of life I was living. I seriously reflected on my lifestyle, my stress levels and my direction, and concluded that it was not the direction I wanted to go in. In fact, I had no idea what direction I wanted to go in. All I knew was that the path I was on was not it.
I embarked on a year of adventure after that. I left my relationship, my high paying job, my apartment, my belongings, my friends and family, my home, and I set out to follow my passion and curiosity. I travelled the globe from Tokyo to New York, London, Naples, Montreal and more. I spent time living in those countries and exploring the culture and learning about myself. MS has always played an interesting role in my personal little world. It often reminds me to be present, to focus on what is important and to pursue passion. Well, at least that’s how I’ve positioned it in my mind. It was an absolutely magical year of self-care and exploration.
So what’s happened since then?
I am happy to report that just over a year after my speech at the Kiss Goodbye to MS Launch Breakfast I gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby girl! The joy and gratitude I feel are indescribable.
It is difficult for me to even begin to adequately express the happiness I have felt going through this journey and holding our little girl, Aurora, in my arms. Being pregnant and having MS in the middle of a pandemic posed its own unique set of challenges. However, my MS symptoms pretty much all disappeared during the pregnancy. This is something I had heard could happen and I had read the research, but I didn’t realise the change could be so significant and almost immediate. At least it was for me. I no longer felt pins and needles in my hands, no longer felt pain in my hips, and whilst some minor symptoms remained, most disappeared.
Truth be told my concerns with MS weren’t ones that were tied to the pregnancy so much as what could happen in the year after birth. At the same time that I had read research on how pregnancy could alleviate symptoms of MS, I had also read that the chances of a relapse could increase slightly within the first year after that pregnancy.
Even with those concerns however, I am always comforted by how incredible our community is at raising funds for research and that MS Research Australia and the passionate team behind it are hard at work, funding projects and making new discoveries every year!
This makes me hopeful that my daughter can grow up with a mother who is healthy and active, and that I have the opportunity to live a full and rich life free of symptoms.
Kiss Goodbye to MS Ambassador
Written by Mez Gallifuoco on 17 October 2020