The BBC's former religious affairs correspondent Caroline Wyatt has revealed that, prior to her recent diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, she had been suffering with symptoms for the past 25 years.
In her first interview since making her illness public, Caroline, who is currently walking with a stick following a recent fall, tells Radio Times that her first indication was a numbness in her arm.
“RSI was the big thing back then so everyone, myself included, thought it was that. It never occurred to me there was something seriously wrong.”
Then, in 2001, she got “wobbly on my feet” during a stint in Moscow. Tests indicated she might have MS, but the reporter ploughed on with her work, until her illness caught up with her over the last two years, leaving her feeling extremely tired and, last July, paralysed down her left side. More tests finally gave her a proper diagnosis of MS.
She says now: “Inevitably there is the ‘why me?’ moment. But I think it’s pointless to go back and think ‘if only’, because I chose the life I wanted and I’ve had a bloody fabulous time.”
Caroline has noticed a physical deterioration and admits she finds the prospect of getting weaker hard to deal with, however, she remains impressively positive about her future. She says: “I’m not angry, and I don’t want bitterness to start eating away at me. I don’t know what the future holds, but I am determined to make the most of my life.”
As she prepares for a long summer break before considering her return to radio, she maintains a generous outlook, saying, “If my diagnosis can help anyone else in the same situation, that would be a good outcome. I have been so touched and so overwhelmed by the number of people who have said they’re praying for me and thinking of me. And that really helps.”
Michelle Mitchell, Chief Executive of the MS Society, said:
“Multiple sclerosis is very unpredictable and leads to a range of symptoms such as poor vision and balance, fatigue and disability. It’s different for everyone and that means making a decision about how and when to tell your employer is very personal.
“We’ve seen that Caroline Wyatt has spoken about her worries around how her MS will progress and how it’s hard to deal with because it fluctuates so much. We know these are concerns that a lot of people with MS face and we’d urge anyone facing these issues to get in touch with our helpline on 0808 800 8000.”
You can read the full interview with Caroline Wyatt in next week's Radio Times, on sale today.
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