MULTIPLE sclerosis is a condition that Winchester resident Phoebe Day will have to live with until the day she dies.

To mark the launch of a new campaign, Ready to Talk MS, the 32-year-old charity worker has shared her story.

Ms Day was diagnosed in June 2020 – just a short while after she had divorced her husband who left her in the early days of the pandemic.

But discovering a youth support group has helped her cope with the uncertainty surrounding the neurological disease.

"My husband and I had been together for eight years and we were just about to buy a house and start a family, I’d also just started a new job. I was living the perfect, happy, little life where I was ticking all right boxes," she said.

"Then we went into lockdown and my husband came home one day and said, ‘I’m not in love with you anymore, I’m leaving’, and left overnight. I found myself navigating a global pandemic, starting a new job virtually, and my husband had just left me at age 31, but I very quickly picked myself up and went and started a new little life, got myself a flat, got myself a sausage dog puppy, was really getting back up on life and feeling good about things.

“Then in June [2020] I suddenly started feeling really, really exhausted. I’d just signed divorce papers, and everything felt a little bit weird. My health is generally really good, so it was strange to feel weird –

and it was new sensations that I had never experienced before.

"My skull was crawling, I had a very numb face, I had tingling, pins-and-needles in my fingers. So, I went to the doctors, to my GP, who said, ‘oh, you’ve got shingles', and they gave me a treatment for that.

"The treatment didn’t help, and my symptoms steadily and steadily got worse and worse. I lost eyesight in one eye, I couldn’t walk, I lost all stability, I was vomiting, and I was bedbound."

Doctors still told Ms Day that she had a virus, so her parents drove her to A&E.

She continued: “With COVID restrictions I couldn’t have anyone come into the hospital, so I was left in a room for eight hours on my own, and that’s when I was wheeled around for MRI scans and lumbar punctures.

"A week later I was taken into a room and the neurologist sat me down and showed me my brain scan, rather than telling me anything.

"I was like, ‘that’s it, I’m dead’, so, actually, when he said Multiple Sclerosis (MS), I was like, ‘oh, fantastic!’, initially, and then suddenly it hit me, and I was absolutely terrified."

"I first went onto one MS charity website, but I was greeted by all these images of people in wheelchairs and 50-, 60-year-old people, and I was like, ‘no, I can’t handle that’.

"But there’s ‘MS Together’ an amazing youth support group for people with MS who are 18-35, and it blew my mind. Suddenly I entered this digital platform – they’re most active on Facebook – where everyone was just going out and going to the pub and I was like, ‘oh my god, these are my people’, and for the first time we were in the majority."

Ready to Talk MS a campaign that aims to help people prepare for upcoming consultation with their neurologist.

There are 130,000 people living with MS in the UK.