The 36-year-old often suffers from “brain fog”, which forgets the names of objects and becomes confused during conversations along with several physical symptoms
Photo: Tracey Harland)
A mother with a young daughter has opened up to living in constant anxiety with her multiple sclerosis (MS) as she aims to raise £ 45,000 to go to her treatment.
Mother-of-one Tracey Harland from Houghton-le-Spring, near Sunderland, was diagnosed with MS in January 2019 after living with strange symptoms like needles and needles in her hands for years.
The 36-year-old also often suffers from “brain fog” by forgetting the names of objects and getting confused during conversations along with several physical symptoms, reports Chronicle Live.
Tracey, who described her MS as a “ticking bomb”, has since opened up to living with the fear that one day she will wake up and not be able to walk.
The mother wants to be able to treat her MS to secure a better future for herself, partner Reece, 43, and four-year-old daughter Esme.
She explained: “I could start losing the function of my hands, lose my sight, end up in a wheelchair.
“When you have MS, you are constantly thinking about waking up and wondering if you will be able to walk that day.
“There’s no warning sign, you can not prepare for it. One day I will just go and my vision will go a little shaky, it’s really scary.
“I have symptoms that I deal with on a daily basis, but I have this constant anxiety.
“I do not want to be a burden to my daughter.”
Tracey lived with her symptoms for so long that she thought “everyone suffered from them” and thought they had a problem with her back.
However, as her symptoms became more worrying, Tracey thought she had MS and this was confirmed in January 2019 when she got an MRI scan.
The mother explained: “I used to get a stabbing pain in my foot and needles in my hands and arms. I have cognitive problems and I used to get tingling down my spine.
“I would get brain fog, so I would forget the names of things, and if we talked together, I would forget what you said at the beginning and get confused about where the conversation was going.
“When my daughter was born, about nine months later, I got numbness in the right side of my face and it went down my neck and down my arm.
“I wanted to go to my osteopath and in a few weeks it would go away. I thought it was all due to problems with my back.
“I went to my GP, who said, ‘I think it’s stressful, you just had a baby, you’re back to work,’ and they were really pushing for anti-depressants.
“I said it does not feel quite right, I do not feel that this is what you think it is.”
After her diagnosis, Tracey realized that her symptoms made sense, adding: “It was then that I realized that many of my symptoms I had been dealing with all these years that I thought were normal were due to my MS.
“When my symptoms flared up, I thought I was exaggerating it with my back. In all these years, I thought it was normal and everyone had these.”
Tracey said MS is a progressive, silent disease that is still developing in the background.
It is likely that she will develop into secondary progressive MS, which is when the major problems begin such as loss of speech and mobility.
Tracey now hopes to raise enough money to receive stem cell therapy (HSCT) at a clinic in Clinica Ruiz, Mexico, Monterrey, which is 85% effective in stopping the disease and possibly reversing previous injuries.
HSCT treatment is available in the UK, but Tracey said the NHS criteria are extremely strict and she is not eligible for it at the moment.
The mother will stay at the clinic for 28 days where she will receive chemotherapy to kill her red immune system.
Although MS drugs to slow development are available on the NHS, Tracey believes HSCT treatment is the best option.
She said: “I am 36 years old, I have a four-year-old daughter, I do not want to slow down the development, I want it to go away.
“This should be the first line of treatment, why take all these drugs to slow development and wait to see how much worse it gets when you can potentially stop it.”
Tracey’s best friend Kirsty Spence set up a Go Fund Me page in an attempt to raise the necessary £ 45,000.
She said: “The thought of not being able to push her child on a swing, chase her around the garden or just do a simple thing or go for a walk with her daughter and her future husband is a constant concern for Tracey.
“Since MS is just a ticking bomb without a cure, she has described it as living with a shadow over her life, constantly living with the fear that a relapse could change her whole world forever.
“Tracey is a beautiful soul who never asks for anything from anyone. She is selfless, loving and the strongest woman I know.
“She is a wonderful partner, daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece and friend and a truly amazing mother to her daughter.
“Giving her this chance at a healthy life would be the greatest gift anyone could offer.”
If you would like to donate, you can do so here.
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