Deanna Renee

“Not letting MS define me”

Deanna ReneeMS became part of my life in early 2007 when I was seventeen years old. I experienced blurred vision and received an official diagnosis within a month. Initially, I felt like I had been handed a life sentence. I was in shock and Mum kept crying. No one could tell me what would happen.
I was advised to defer my final year of high school. However, I was very stubborn and wanted to graduate with my classmates. Despite having more sick days away from school than I was in attendance, I graduated at the end of 2007. Being a high achieving student my whole school life, I was horrified I did not achieve the exam results required to enter Medicine.

I am ashamed to say I spent the next two years wallowing in self-pity, while learning to manage symptoms of MS including fatigue, pain, balance and visual issues, anxiety and depression. In 2010, I was sick of feeling sorry for myself. I commenced study and in 2013 completed a Bachelor of Psychology.

I then took a month-long backpacking trip though South East Asia. I felt an amazing sense of personal achievement, considering when I walk, I need to "think" about very single step.

I soon realised MS will not stop me from achieving my goals. In 2015 I commenced a Master of Science in Medicine and graduated at the top of my class. I am currently studying a Master of Social Work.

Today, I continue to improve my wellbeing through regular exercise, diet and mental health maintenance. I am currently a MS Ambassador sharing my journey within my local area. I am looking forward to educating audiences about the challenges of living with an invisible illness.

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