Deanna Renee

“I will not let MS define me”

Deanna ReneeWhen I was 17-years-old, MS crashed into my life. I woke up with blurred vision, and body weakness. Within a month I received an official diagnosis of MS. Initially, it felt like I had been handed a life sentence. There was, and still is today, so many negative stereotypes and attitudes around the illness. No one could tell me what my future would look like. I was offered very little support at this time and scared of what my future might hold. 
 
I was advised to defer my final year of high school, but I was very stubborn and wanted to graduate with my classmates. Despite having more days of absence than in attendance, I graduated at the end of 2007. I had always been a high achieving student and was horrified I did not achieve the exam results I required to enter The University of Melbourne and the course of my choosing. 
 
I was devastated. Looking back I am ashamed that I spent the next two years wallowing in self-pity, while learning to manage my MS symptoms which included fatigue, pain, balance and visual issues, anxiety, and depression. I also had to learn how to pace myself and reserve my energy which is a hard task for a 20-year-old. 
 
In 2010, I was sick of feeling sorry for myself. I applied to Monash University and in 2013 completed a Bachelor of Social Sciences. To celebrate this achievement, against the advice of those around me, I took a month-long backpacking trip through Southeast Asia. During this trip I felt an amazing sense of personal achievement and soon had the epiphany that my MS cannot stop me from achieving my goals. In 2015, I commenced a yearlong Master of Science in Medicine and graduated in the top percentile of my class. I then went on to backpack around India for six weeks.
 
Today, I am studying a Master of Social Work at The University of Melbourne. While the pathway was not what I expected, I got there in the end. I continue to improve my wellbeing through regular exercise, diet, mental health maintenance and a strong support network of family, friends, MSL support services, and other social networks. I am currently an MS Ambassador sharing my journey. I am looking forward to educating audiences about the challenges of living with multiple sclerosis and finding the silver lining of living with a chronic, incurable illness.

Book MS Ambassador | View more VIC Ambassadors

____
If you would like to book an MS Ambassador, please free-call MS Connect on 1800-042-138 or email: ambassadors-vic@ms.org.au (for VIC Ambassadors), ambassadors-nsw@ms.org.au (for NSW).

Call Us - 1800 042 138

MS Connect is our free telephone and email information support and referral service.

Register with MS

By registering with MS you can access our full range of services and support.

Donate Online


At MS we want everyone living with multiple sclerosis to get the support they need to live the best life they can. We want them to be more than their disease.

Your donations enable people living with multiple sclerosis to do all the everyday things we take for granted.

Join us in making MS stand for more than multiple sclerosis.
 

Donate Online




Stay informed with the latest from MS

Icon
TIS

Connect with us...

Multiple Sclerosis Limited, ABN 66 004 942 287