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Paula's Story

One of the most emotional days in your life is when you discover you’re going to welcome a new baby into your family – especially your first born.

However, for Paula and her husband Matt, that same day brought even more life-changing news. At only 36 years of age, Paula was diagnosed with MS.

“I can’t even begin to describe the range of emotions we went through in those early days” says Paula.

For years, Paula had experienced difficulty walking, and it wasn’t until a co-worker pulled her aside to see if everything was alright, that she first sought medical advice.

“I had scans and saw a neurologist who told me the testing was normal and attributed my symptoms to stress and a ‘benign essential tremor’. I didn't question anything – I didn't want anything to be wrong. I was happy that I could manage things by reducing stress” remembers Paula.

The couple moved to Brisbane from the USA in 2011, and initially things seemed to be improving. But Paula’s difficulties with walking eventually returned and she found herself tripping and falling more often. Her left leg seemed to drag behind her. This time around, she didn’t wait and saw a neurologist straight away.

Everyone’s reaction to an MS diagnosis is different. For Paula, finally having answers was a relief. And after the birth of her first daughter, Paula decided to connect with MS Queensland.

Paula says “When our daughter Hannah came into our lives, it was such a beautiful moment for us. Becoming a mum gave me a new perspective on life. It gave me the motivation and drive to control my MS journey.”

MS Queensland first organised for Paula and Matt to meet with Tim, an experienced MS Nurse. Tim sat with the couple for over an hour answering questions and putting their fears at ease, by providing a better understanding of the diagnosis and treatment options available.

Shortly after meeting with Tim, Paula met her service coordinator, who introduced her to the services and supports available. This is when Paula started a physiotherapy program tailored to help manage her mobility issues and achieve her goals.

Paula and Matt’s little family continued to grow, and they’re now a family of four.

“It has been challenging, and exhausting” reflects Paula “I couldn’t have done it without the help and support of MS Queensland.”

Your support of the MS Limited Edition Art Union helps MS Queensland to deliver a number of vital services to the 3,970 people in Queensland, living with MS. Services like accommodation and respite; physiotherapy and exercise therapy; immunotherapy and nursing support; counselling; information and education resources, workshops and webinars; and regional service coordination.