Recent Writing

Determined to enjoy school holidays despite MS

Determined to enjoy school holidays despite MS

  • The Scotsman
  • 19 July 2016

IT’S the first day of the school holidays. I am determined to mark it by doing something special with my kids despite – or because of – my Multiple Sclerosis (MS). As we leave Edinburgh, fields of canola open up like patches of sunshine.
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Learning to live in the moment

Learning to live in the moment

  • The Scotsman
  • 30 June 2016

Spikes of buckthorn branches catch at my sleeve, scratching my arm. We are following other families as we slowly make our way along the dusty, sandy path. Nettles jostle at my legs, hogweed plants tower above us. Salt air catches in my throat, filling my lungs.
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Happiness is still possible, even with MS

Happiness is still possible, even with MS

  • The Scotsman
  • 14 June 2016

I’m stood outside in the courtyard at Dhanakosa, surrounded by around thirty other people on the retreat too. I’m wearing my baggy trousers from Nepal, the ones I acquired a couple of days earlier. Swallows swoop and dip around us. It’s still early morning; the hills beyond Loch Voil remain swathed in low-lying cloud.
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MS makes it hard to judge my movements

MS makes it hard to judge my movements

  • The Scotsman
  • 09 June 2016

Loch Loyne is glinting in the June sunshine as we gaze at the hundreds of triangular-shaped cairns dotted all around us. The tiny pyramids stretch out over the large, flat area, each made of small rocks that passing walkers and day-trippers have placed on top of one another.
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Leaving MS behind at home

Leaving MS behind at home

  • The Scotsman
  • 12 May 2016

The aroma of basil, garlic and rosemary tells us as soon as we arrive that we’re in a different country now. We left the other one behind when we stepped through the blue doorway on the Dalry Road into Locanda de Gusti.
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Struggle for happiness as I live daily with MS

Struggle for happiness as I live daily with MS

  • Scottish Daily Mail
  • 03 May 2016

I’M sitting on the grass watching my elder daughter learn to play tennis. As the lesson ends she begins skipping over to where I’m enjoying the early summer sunshine. I get up to go and meet her. I try to walk down the sloping path. I...can't...do...it...
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MS turns ordinary into extraordinary

MS turns ordinary into extraordinary

  • The Scotsman
  • 26 April 2016

My two daughters are racing down the hotel corridor, giggling and skipping as they go. The hallway stretches ahead, like we’re stood inside a train looking down a line of carriages. It feels like we might even be aboard the Flying Scotsman itself.
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How knitting helps me deal with MS

How knitting helps me deal with MS

  • The Scotsman
  • 05 April 2016

Hand in hand, my younger daughter and I stand and gaze at the skeins of wool in front of us. We’re at the annual yarn festival in Edinburgh. Dozens of stalls stretch ahead of us, making a rainbow of colour.
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How to mark Mother's Day with MS

How to mark Mother's Day with MS

  • The Scotsman
  • 11 March 2016

WE’RE sat inside one of the booths at the Galvin Brasserie de Luxe. It’s Mother’s Day and it feels like we could be in Paris. Only the seagulls swooping overhead in the car park remind us we remain firmly in EH1.
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It turns out I need to accept my MS

It turns out I need to accept my MS

  • The Scotsman
  • 02 March 2016

JOURNALIST and MS campaigner Helen Fowler on getting through the bad days, trying to Google away her illness and edging towards acceptance of her MS.
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My stereotype of MS was demolished by the reality

My stereotype of MS was demolished by the reality

  • The Scotsman
  • 18 February 2016

Lying on the carpet in my bedroom, I am following the instructions from the physio for my MS. I’ve done the Base Position and the Bridge. Now for the most challenging of all: Table Top. I lift first one leg off the floor, then the other. I hold them aloft, knees bent, for five seconds at a time.
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Hope is never gone

Hope is never gone

  • The Scotsman
  • 09 February 2016

I have made it about half-way across the road. But suddenly my legs buckle under me. Something isn’t working in my body the way it normally does. Sensation, control and power – they’re all gone. I’m frightened and horrified.
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