The bad news first.
A week ago I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an incurable condition with an uncertain progression and prognosis. It wasn't a surprise. I have been feeling 'not quite right' for maybe eight years, have had various tests, with minor symptoms being attributed to stress or the side effects of drugs. All of this seemed perfectly reasonable at the time, I have no complaints about my medical treatment. But this time I had tingling in my face, my GP suspected MS, was honest enough to say so and refer me on. That was at the end of June.
After a more recent week-long convoluted story involving two hospital A&E departments and an MRI scanner, my consultant neurologist broke the news. I was just thankful it wasn't a brain tumour, which was the other possibility. At the moment I have severe double vision, because the muscles in my eyes are not working together. I can't drive, I'm walking with a stick, feeling very weak and wobbly, and I need patched glasses just to function. I know this is just a bad relapse, part and parcel of MS. I am already better than I was, it should all improve further with time.
But all this was forgotten yesterday when my Open University results came out. I got the grade I had hoped for in my Advanced Creative Writing course, not a distinction but the next best thing. As a result I am now the proud owner of a Diploma in Literature and Creative Writing, as well as an Open Degree with 2.1 Honours ( due to the eclectic mix of courses I have studied I can take this as either a BA or BSc. I think I will go for the BSc, despite the strong creative writing content, as I already have a BA!)
There is a wonderful symmetry here. I initially joined the OU ten years ago to study one course in Health and Social Care, in order to better understand the systems we would be fighting because of son 2's autism. I had no intention of going on to do another degree, but due to my kids' special needs over the last four years I found myself stuck at home with a need for distraction from a lot of stress. I went back to the OU and found a new direction and validation with the OU creative writing courses, making a dream into a reality. I have learned so many practical writing skills, I have been published and I will continue writing, not just as a means of one day hopefully perhaps making a little pocket money, but above all to enjoy a 'career' which can fit around not only my role as a carer but now also my own future health needs.
I hope the best is yet to come.