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A few years ago, Grace Trinity School for Girls handed out “funny” certificates to the staff, I was awarded the Simon Cowell award for “saying it like it is”. I wasn’t too chuffed with this certificate and instead of embracing it, I took only the negative from it. My mom loves to remind me about this… still years later I am not entirely sure if it was a “good” award. My mom believes it was, but she would… she is MY mom! I have realised why I am not sure if this was good or bad, I am often in the firing line for speaking up. I believe in taking a stand for what you believe is right, especially when it comes to the fight for children who often can’t or don’t speak up.

When I was a little girl, I had a Grade 2 teacher who I absolutely adored. She was the kind of teacher you remember forever, your favourite kind, the teacher that pops up whenever your school career is mentioned…

I found out a few years ago that my favourite “Mrs 2+3” had an illness called Multiple Sclerosis. I didn’t quite know the details on this disease, but I remember how heavy my heart felt when I heard this. How could this amazing person have this? It just isn’t fair. I think it hit harder as at that time I was now a Grade 2 teacher myself…. I was actually teaching at my old Primary School, better yet I was the Grade 2 teacher in my old Grade 2 class! Crazy!

Fast forward a few years, my passion for teaching only grew stronger. My classroom is my happy place, the little people that come and go each year are forever in my heart. I strive to develop lasting relationships with my students, they must always know I am there, no matter if my time “teaching” them has come to an end, I am there! It was over the course of a few years, random, weird things happened to me. Always putting it off, never wanting to be dramatic and carrying on as best as I could. These random things came and then went, and life would continue. Things got worse and it was recommended I go see a Neurologist. What?! Now let’s talk dramatic. I didn’t feel good at all, I knew something was wrong, but I continued…

I went to school on the Monday, the Tuesday I couldn’t, I just couldn’t! By the Thursday morning my Earth Angel (this is my husband 😉) had me at the hospital with a Neurologist. To top this all off, I had to be hit with this during Covid… really? I felt like I was on deaths door and now I needed to do this all alone, test after test. On the 8th of June 2021 we had to go back to see the Neurologist. Initially I was diagnosed with Encephalitis, random check-up, I am doing fine now… it has been 2 weeks since being discharged. We sat down, my two little boys in the doctor’s room too, nothing hectic… “Your lumbar puncture results are back and there are positive O bands, with the lesions on your brain………. this has confirmed you have Multiple Sclerosis”. What?! No! Emergency appointment with a different Neurologist, I need a second opinion. This can’t be! Well… yes it can be! I have Multiple Sclerosis.

There was so much information being thrown around and everything seemed so unbelievably overwhelming but we were trying to take in as much of it as possible. The neurologist mentioned various supplements that she would suggest I start taking to assist with inflammation mostly but my wellbeing overall. She mentioned a couple of things before my dad had an ‘ah-ha!’ moment. He had just come out with a range of supplements that included various anti-inflammatory ingredients that the neurologist said would be highly beneficial – this was a penny drop moment for us all and almost seemed like fate that we already had exactly what we needed. But…supplements can only do so much…and I was put onto a course of chronic MS medication.

Bronwen and her husband, Brett Dudgeon.

For the last year and a bit, I have taken the most awful medicine, awful! It was meant to help, it was meant to control this MonSter, but unfortunately, I really believe it has done more bad than good to my body. So, the journey of starting new meds begins again. “Mrs 2+3” has since been medically boarded. This makes me so upset or maybe more angry. MS has taken her away from her passion, it has prevented how many little people from crossing her path, MS has been the cause for how many children to not be taught or influenced by this incredible woman. Besides for my boys, all 3 of them… I am going to fight this MonSter! MS is not going to take me away from making a difference to all the little people who have crossed my path and all the little people who are yet to cross my path! I don’t know the remaining chapters of my story, but nowhere in those pages will it say that I gave up the fight against Multiple Sclerosis.

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