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MS, Multiple Sclerosis, Poetry, the last polar bear on earth, Wales Millennium Centre, Word Ward -

It wasn’t so much an argument, more like a disagreement, with a guy who came up to me after a reading I did recently. I finished off on a poem about Multiple Sclerosis and how having it hasn’t changed me.

The guy didn’t say what his illness was but he went… “You are wrong. Of course being ill changes us. You are a different person now.”

I was diagnosed with MS in 2016 but I had been unwell for years and years before that. At one point I couldn’t feel the entire right half of my body and I was so tired all the time I just couldn’t do anything, even the things I enjoyed the most, like sex.

Back and fore the doctors’ surgery I went with my notebook of different symptoms – I must’ve looked like a right hypochondriac. I was sent to different specialists in different departments of the hospital until finally an MRI scan and a neurologist revealed all these scars on my brain and spinal cord. And then he went and put a name on all of those years of being ill: Multiple Sclerosis.

Cool.

So, did I walk into that neurologist’s office that afternoon as me, the person I had been for 28 years in all my glory and mischief, and was it like Stars in Their Eyes… did I suddenly walk out of that office into a puff of smoke and transform into a different person?

Tonight, Matthew, I’m going to be... an emotional wreck.

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