A brave Aberdeen woman has spoken out about her experience with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in the hopes of raising awareness.
Susan Trench, 54, was diagnosed with the degenerative condition in September last year.
She said: “I had been experiencing sudden falls since 2014, so my GP said I needed to be investigated. After another attack in April 2017 I was seen by a specialist in June.
“I had MRI scans on my spine and brain. I was seen in a clinic mid-September 2017 and admitted to hospital two weeks after my appointment.”
Susan, from Bridge of Don, said her diagnosis was given within six days, while she was still in hospital.
She added:“I had heard of MND but had no idea what the symptoms were or how it affected people. I still can’t believe it has happened to me.”
MND impacts on the body’s motor neurons – the cells that control the voluntary muscles of the body. People with MND often see their ability to walk, talk, breathe and eat affected by the disease.
On her diagnosis, Susan said: “My arms and hands are very weak and I can’t lift them anymore.
“My left hand and shoulder has a lot of muscle wastage and it’s now affecting my legs. I have trouble getting up or getting out of the car.”
The disease is different for all sufferers, with some symptoms occurring for some and not others.
“I still can’t take it in and my mum is finding it really hard to accept. It’s difficult to accept that I can no longer do the things I could. Even normal and simple things like getting dressed, or hanging my clothes up,” she said.
Susan has praised the support she has received from charity MND Scotland and her NHS MND specialist.
She said: “My MND specialist is very helpful.
“It is good to have local support and someone who will listen to how I am feeling – she’s a great backup.
“I have also received a grant from MND Scotland to pay for taxis which helps me get around and stay more independent, which is really important to me.”
MND grants can be used to pay for a number of things for sufferers, from transport – as in Susan’s case – to even a holiday to get time away.