Multiple Sclerosis is a long-term chronic illness that has unpredictable symptoms. It attacks in unforeseeable ways and can render one immobile. This is the condition of MS patient Rehana from Bahawalpur, who was diagnosed in 1998 at the delicate age of just 18 years. She suffered symptoms like fatigue, leg pain, and headaches.
At the time, Rehana was a student of FSC and attached these symptoms with her student life routine. However, later on, she started suffering from numbness in her back, abdomen, and leg. It was the time when she realized that she was suffering from a disease far more than just simple fatigue.
Rehana was diagnosed with MS after several years. During these years when her illness was undiagnosed, she was not on any medication so her disease kept progressing. She got an MS relapse every two or three months but she had no idea what was possibly wrong with her until she was diagnosed. In these 21 years, she lost her mobility and needs help and support to move about. She also lost vision in her left eye completely and can only see 50% from her right eye.
Watch the mini-documentary video below made by the Society for Multiple Sclerosis Patients in Pakistan in collaboration with Hamza Ansari of Spartans Production to record her life as an MS patient.
Due to lack of awareness, lack of proper treatment, and lack of proper health care facilities in Bahawalpur, Rehana’s diagnosis was delayed for several years. She has had numerous relapses and MS attacks over these years, each attack robbing her of her abilities. After struggling through life and the disease together, Rehana came across the Society for Multiple Sclerosis Patients of Pakistan via the internet. She was the first patient to contact the Society soon after our registration. We were able to help Rehana and her family by providing guidance, and medical assistance to support and help her with her MS treatment. Through the MS Society of Pakistan, she was also able to connect with other MS patients. She follows our advice and learns from other patients’ experiences as well. SMSPP is proud to have Rehana as one of our patients and we have been guiding her and supporting her by sending her monthly medicine supply.
One of the dilemmas that MS patients face is the thought of relapsing. Rehana told us, “I was living in a constant state of fear that the disease may relapse any time, and I will have to cancel everything I planned for the day.” This state of fear is more debilitating than the disease itself. The fear attacks the patient psychologically and grips her with depression.
Rehana lives with her husband and 3 children and thanks her family, especially her husband for his unwavering support in these crippling times. When she felt down and was unable to support herself, it was her husband who pulled her out of her depression by his continuous support. Eventually, in this disease or any other disease for that matter, moral support from the family is the most important factor for survival.
Today, Rehana is living a happy life with her three children and her husband. Her husband is very supportive, and her kids are her strength in this battle against MS. Rehana is a beautiful example of a brave fighter and a role model for all MS patients. May she live a happy, healthy, and prosperous life in the coming years. Ameen.