My name is Lynne Armstrong and I have lived with Multiple Sclerosis every single minute of every day of my life. It is a chronic, debilitating disease and, at times, it’s actually a very humiliating disease because of nasty things that happen. I think there is more hope nowadays for people who are diagnosed. Nowadays there are disease modifying therapies; now they weren’t available in my day. And they work for some people; there are 13 different disease modifying therapies and a lot of people are having a lot of success; it is damping down their MS but it doesn’t cure it.
A palliative approach is really looking at the whole person and not just looking at everything in isolation, I think that’s what it is. When I thought about it, I realised that I actually have been receiving a degree of palliative care for a long number of years but I never thought of it like that. I have the MS consultant, the MS nurse, who were dealing with me medically and as well as my own GP, physically I’ve got the neuro physio at the MS Society and emotionally we have excellent counsellors at the MS Society and you can tell them anything and you know it will never ever be repeated.
And sometimes when they suggest something, you think, yes actually I am doing that but you don’t actually realise that you’re helping yourself, and that is all part of a palliative approach rather than just saying, as in the olden days, right, go home with this bag of steroids, find a nurse to give them to you, just rest and just forget about it. And that was basically it in the olden days, whereas now I feel patients have more input; that again is part of the palliative approach, there is a lot of discussion, they are given options, but it is very important, and I cannot stress this enough, that DMTs (disease modifying therapies) should be started as soon as possible after diagnosis.