charity dog walk Lisa and Whiskys challenge

Lisa and Whisky’s dog walk challenge

Lisa took part in the Big Purple Dog Walk 2022 and raised an incredible £5,642 for MS-UK. Here, she shares her diagnosis story and her beloved Doberman, Whisky

I have been married to my husband Vadim for six years and we share our son Liam who is four years old. We also have a few furry children: two Burmese cats Billie and Beatrice, as well as our newest addition Whisky, our 10-month-old Dobermann. They all keep us very busy!

My multiple diagnosis (MS) diagnosis came about when I had a suspected stroke seven months after I had given birth. I got to A&E scared out of my mind after a night of deteriorating speech, endless tiredness and headaches as well as right sided progressing paralysis in my leg, arm and face.

After running a battery of tests, the doctors could thankfully exclude a stroke, and I was almost relieved when they concluded from the MRI scan that I had a rare form of MS that presented ‘tumefactive’ lesions near the ventricles of the brain. As with so many of us, I must have had my disease onset years before, as my brain was already covered in smaller lesions.

All plans for growing our family were put on ice and I mustered up the courage to undergo comprehensive treatment in the hope of preventing the deterioration of my condition as much as possible.

I am not going to lie, it took me some time to get to grips with the fact that I am chronically ill. I tried to keep my job in strategy consulting for a while, as I had worked so hard for my role in the company and was so very proud of my achievements. However, I realised quite quickly that I could not keep up with the workload anymore and trying to catch up on sleep while caring for a toddler made no one happy.

After a few months, I decided to radically change my life, and I have MS-UK and their amazing team as well as my neurologist to thank for that! I embarked on the journey to become a counsellor, switched to a diet that is much more in tune with my body and now we have also moved to the beautiful countryside in Surrey.

My MS has become this reasonable older sister who tells me when to slow down and enjoy the little things that make me happy. She has taught me that life is fragile and that I need to take care of what is important to me. I still get tired and anxious at times, but my husband is very understanding and supportive.

I’ve wanted my own Dobermann since I was a child. While I was working full time, it just was not reasonable to get one. Now Whisky gets me out of the house every day no matter the weather and I cannot imagine life without him anymore. He is the clown of our household, and we are trying to change people’s perception of these family-loving creatures, one encounter at a time. The Big Purple Dog Walk was an ideal challenge for me as well as raising money for such a good cause.

Having MS has made me much more sensible and taught me to say no for the sake of my health more than once. Still, it has made me change my life for the better as I have tried to come to grips with this constant companion.

I am completely blown away by the generosity of our friends as we have exceeded our original fundraising target multiple times. Whisky thinks it’s all down to his handsomeness, of course!