Forza member Magdalene Loughran lives in Dungannon. Diagnosed with MS in 2002, Magdalene has found new confidence in meeting other people with multiple sclerosis.
“I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in August 2002 but looking back I became aware something was wrong in 1997. I was on a training scheme in Montreal, Canada. Travelling is a great love of mine and I had jumped at the chance to go to Canada for two months,” revealed Magdalene.
“I noticed one night that my hand-eye coordination wasn’t very good as I just could not get my earrings in. I was stumbling and fumbling around.”
“At that time I was looking after my sisters daughter, and later her son. The doctors thought I might have epilepsy and I was put on medication but it made no difference. The doctors then diagnosed post traumatic shock. Life carried on and I had a great time looking after my nieces and nephews, then in 2001 on a holiday in Portrush my brother-in-law noticed that I couldn’t run properly, it was as if my foot wasn’t touching the floor properly,” Magdalene continued.
“Shortly after that I started to have crippling headaches and was referred to a neurologist. A lot of tests followed, including an MRI scan. I was then diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis.”
For Magdalene and her family it was a diagnosis they had all secretly suspected but for Magdalene there was also a sense of relief that it was not all in her head!
“Before my diagnosis I wasn’t very confident, I had always been shy. After my diagnosis a number of things changed and my confidence increased,” continued Magdalene.
“I joined Action MS and the Forza group. Now I am so much more confident. I really enjoy meeting and chatting to people, I can talk to anyone and like getting out and about.
“My family are wonderful, my mummy is a great support to me, as was my daddy before he passed away two years ago.
“I have also recently met a wonderful man, Jason, on a night out. I love traditional Irish music and met Jason at a concert in Stewartstown, I was there with my sister Catherine. We have been together for a year now, he is the life and soul of the party and we have a great time together,”