HELLO! I’m Lucy, I was just 19 when my world came crashing down. I was sat in a hospital room with my dad when a doctor walked in and told me I had the incurable illness Motor Neurone Disease. MND is where the motor neurones which are responsible for carrying messages from the brain to your muscles so you can move your muscles become damaged, meaning they can no longer do there job. In my own words, I’m very slowly going paralysed.
I grew up in a small village where you move there for one of two reasons, to retire or to bring up a family. I couldn’t imagine growing up anywhere better, to me it was perfect, my best friend even lived across the road. Both my parents worked hard to give my brother, my sister and myself the best childhood. Without fail every night we’d sit down as a family and eat dinner. Something I cherish even now.
School for me was average, I didn’t love it and I didn’t hate it. I liked the subjects I could get my head round and disliked those I couldn’t. One of the only good things about school for me was my year group, we all got on which meant we were close. I left school with a great group of friends and average grades. During 6th year, I decided to take a gap year so that I could do Camp America and travel a little before I spent the next four years committed to a degree that I didn’t know wether or not was for me. Taking a gap year was the best decision I’ve ever made. I always felt weird telling people that I wasn’t going to do the whole university thing straight away. If I’m honest if it wasn’t for my school drilling it into me that I needed to go to university to have a career or my parents I probably wouldn’t have gone. I had an incredible summer filled with hilarious memories because of my camp family and I made friends for life.
I came back from camp so ready and excited for my future and life. I even forgot that I had anything wrong with me. Before I went to camp I had noticed that my left hand had become increasingly weaker than my right and I started falling over a lot and walking into things. No one at camp knew me before so I was just clumsy to them. It was just me. For a whole summer I forgot that I’d promised my loved ones that I’d go to the doctors when I was home. I was just able to be me and carefree. 3 month with only seeing my family over FaceTime meant that when I came back from camp they picked up on everything that had changed physically. I came back with a limp, shaky muscles and a slurred speech.
As soon as I came home from America I was moved into my flat in Glasgow ready to start studying business and started going to the doctors as promised. I was really lucky with the fact I had a doctor who believed me when I told her all my symptoms. After a few visits and some blood tests later, I was referred to a neurologist. The appointment came around so fast and my mum traveled the four hours to be with me at the appointment. The start of the appointment was such a blur to me. After explaining everything I had a quick examination. After I sat back down I remember him asking if I had any idea what it was. I said Ms, brain tumour or a stroke. I asked him if he had an idea of what it was? He told me he had a list but he’d need to run tests. Something told me to ask is everything on the list curable. I just wanted to know I was going to get better. He told me we’d have to wait and see. A week later after being admitted to hospital and having tests. The same neurologist walked in and told me I had MND. I kept eye contact with him until he told me it was incurable. When my eyes filled with water. The rest of the conversation was a blur. That was almost 5 years ago.
Over the last 5 years I’ve done some incredible things, I’ve raised over £177,000 for MND Scotland. I’ve ticked 32 items of my bucket list, which has allowed me to do some incredible things like fly a helicopter and a plane, travel the world and get up close and personal with animals. I’ve shared my story with half a million people via my documentary: MND and 22 year old me. At the age of 24 I’ve achieved more in my lifetime than some people will ever dream off.
Up until late last year, after avoiding the fact I had MND for four years. I finally accepted it. Looking back now it’s what I needed, keeping myself busy with fundraisers and sharing my story has allowed me to mature enough to be able to accept my new path. Once I stopped running from being on my own with my thoughts. I soon realised I didn’t know who I was and as a result I lost my confidence. I decided to start working on myself, cliche I know. Then again the secrets to life are hidden behind the word cliche. Honestly I’d recommend it to everyone. I never realised how important it is to believe in yourself and how positively it can impact your life. When you believe in yourself everything and anything is possible when you put in the hard work.
Before I go any further I need you to know something so important. You are enough, For so long I thought that because I had MND I was broken. I soon realised that it was only me that felt that way. If I know I’m enough even with all my issues, I hope you hear me when I say you are enough, because you are enough. For so long I thought that showing emotion and letting people seeing me struggle was a weakness. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered it’s my greatest strength. To be able to build up the courage to let someone in and be vulnerable around them is human nature. Somewhere along the way we’ve forgotten that we need each other to survive. We need assurance that what were experiencing is normal and were not alone and it will get better.
Nobody knows you better than you know yourself. You know what you like, you know what’s going to make you happy. So just listen to yourself. Really get to know yourself and be proud. Last month my sister called me a control freak. I just laughed because I know I am, and I love that I am. I have a spice draw, where everything has it’s place. I have a white board that has my week planned out on it, meals and all. Don’t even get me started on my workout draw. I need that though, I have to be organised so that when my carers walk in they know what there doing and where everything is. It relaxes me knowing that I know what I’m doing. I know you’re thinking weirdo and that’s okay because I am. Before I started believing in myself, it would make me embarrassed but now I know it’s me and it’s how I cope. All your quirks and habits, make you, you and that’s beautiful because you are enough.
Life’s far to short to not do what you want to do. If you already know what you want to do that’s great! Run with it but just know that if in a couple of years you don’t want to do it that’s okay. It’s normal to let some dreams die so new ones can take there place. My hopes and dreams have changed so much in the last 5 years. If you don’t know what you want don’t worry try everything, travel, work and just find yourself. Just know that if your passionate, happy and believe in yourself you can achieve all your dreams. Look at me, in May I moved into my own flat with my dog Zeus. After 4 years of only living in the present because of my illness I’m now looking towards my future despite it. You are your own destiny.
Smile more and laugh always!