MULTIPLE Sclerosis (MS) is a devastating disease which can strike at any time.
And for Stratford resident Robert Greaves – who had never needed to go to the hospital before – the diagnosis in his early 50s came as a major shock.
MS affects the spinal cord and sometimes the brain, causing problems with vision, movement, sensation or balance.
The 54 year-old safety engineer first suspected something was wrong when he experienced numbness in his legs, later followed by double vision.
And within a few months he could no longer drive and soon needed a wheelchair to move about.
He said: “I was bedridden and not knowing if I’d ever walk again. I was trying not to think too much about it at the time. I just thought ‘well, this is my life now’.”
Fortunately – because of his early diagnosis – the dad of two was given the option for a new treatment Lemtrada – a drug administered via a drip – which prevents symptoms from worsening.
Robert, who was the first patient at University Hospital in Coventry to receive the therapy, said: “I was given a variety of options for my treatment. All drugs have side effects, and as I hate needles, I was also hesitant about the monthly blood tests I’d need to have for five years, but the doctors and nurses told me about all the evidence for the new treatment.”
Following the treatment and a course of physiotherapy, Robert was discharged from hospital in July 2015 with a walker, but was soon walking unassisted and able to go back to work.
“I joined a gym to improve my fitness level, and as it turned out, a member of staff there also has the condition, so he’s been a massive support to me too.”
Robert was full of praise for the treatment and for the staff who cared for him.
Sylvia Lyons, MS specialist nurse at the hospital, said: “While there’s currently no cure for MS, having the condition is not what it was 25 years ago.
“We’re so pleased to see how well Robert is doing after his Lemtrada treatment at University Hospital.
She said: “We’re so pleased to see how well Robert is doing after his Lemtrada treatment at University Hospital.
“At UHCW, we care for over 2,000 patients with MS from across Coventry and Warwickshire and beyond, and we’re proud to be one of the recognised centres for MS in the UK.”
Visit www.mstrust.org.uk for more information on the condition.