'˜Having MS has totally changed my outlook on life'
DAD Gavin Moth has spoken out about being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in his 30s.
He decided to talk about how living with the condition has changed his life ahead of MS Week 2016, which starts on Monday.
Gavin, of Southsea, found out he had MS in 2012 just months after getting engaged to his now wife Kristin – and says it was she who made him go to hospital and get a diagnosis.
The 36-year-old, was diagnosed with the condition in January 2012.
He’d been suffering from what he thought was bad flu, and Kristin made him go to hospital on her birthday.
He ended up in intensive care unable to talk or walk and was eventually told he had MS.
Gavin says Kristin has been amazing throughout everything:
‘She has been brilliant. There are not many husbands who can say in their wedding speech that their wife saved their life, and she definitely did.
‘I wouldn’t have gone to hospital if she hadn’t said to, and on her birthday.
‘I’ve surprised myself in the way I’ve dealt with diagnosis.
‘I now try to look positively at everything.
‘We’d only just got engaged when I found out I had MS so I focused on making sure I was all right for the wedding.
‘If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t have been so determined.
‘I’ve never been shy about showing my emotions but the wedding speech was horrendous. I know some pretty tough guys and they were crying.’
Gavin now has two daughters – three-year-old Evie and Clara who is four weeks old.
He has the relapsing remitting type of MS and his symptoms include fatigue, numbness, slurred speech when he’s tired and problems with walking when he is ill.
Gavin says having MS has completely changed everything about his life.
‘I went from a pretty decent sales career to working part-time,’ he said.
‘I had three months in hospital after diagnosis and then three months of recovery.
‘I went back to work full-time but it was too much.’
Gavin has since set up his own internet business selling environmentally-friendly products to the marine industry and was recently named Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the British Marine Trades Association.
He played football three times a week before diagnosed and used to coach children.
Gavin also played golf, cricket and tennis but says now, on a good day, he’d only manage to hit a few golf balls.
But despite everything, he says having MS has changed the way he sees things: ‘I now always look for the positive, when I used to look for the negative.
‘My first thought is to find the good. I also appreciate my friends and family at lot more.’
More than 100,000 people are living with MS in the UK.
MS is complex and unpredictable – one day people can be fine, the next they might lose their sight or be unable to move.
People typically start experiencing symptoms in their 20s and 30s – these can include sight loss, pain, fatigue, incontinence and disability.
The MS Society is the leading UK charity for people affected by MS.
n Find out more about MS or the MS Society at mssociety.org.uk.