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Alessandra Averna talks about Multiple Sclerosis

                                                   Alessandra Averna. Credits: Borja Nieto

The 28th May 2014 has been declared as the World MS Day. But what is the Multiple Sclerosis, MS? Our member from Italy, Alessandra Averna, who is now playing at the Oca Augas Santas International Open explained it to us as she is suffering it since 2012:

The first attack that I suffered came straight from my back… this was after my first professional victory in Malaga at the Banesto Tour 2012 in March. I did not know anything about this illness, what we call MS. The next day, after the pain in my back, I had a strange sensation in my toes and all my legs. I started to walk in a strange way because my balance was not good. Despite this, I went to play another LETAS tournament later in April, this time in Zaragoza… but I had to withdraw as walking had become very difficult. So, as soon as I got back to Italy I was hospitalized, to find out what was happening and at first they thought it was something to do with a tumour. They found a lesion in my bone marrow and they sent me home with, after a cycle of treatment with cortisone. After 5 months, almost end of the year, the symptoms disappeared…. Doctors said it was not a tumour, but they were not sure what it was… maybe Multiple Sclerosis…

During 2013, I was feeling well but every 3 months I had to do have MRI scans in the hospital… And the second attack arrived past January, in 2014, much stronger, coming from my neck downwards… I could not feel my body…Both my arms and my legs were very difficult to control. Walking was very difficult and also simple things like holding a fork was very tiring… I had to start taking again cortisone and they finally confirmed that what I was suffering was Multiple Sclerosis.

I used to be a very healthy person, but now, I am starting to get used to this new life with the illness… Three months after this second attack, I have recovered pretty well, I started to play golf again to be ready for this event, but there are some differences in my life like I get tired pretty soon and very easily, I have strange feeling, kind of tingling on my hands, when I am driving, or for example, after the boat trip yesterday… the vibration always makes me feel this way, even when I dry my hair. My disease is called Relapsing- Remitting Multiple Sclerosis, this means it comes and goes. Between the first and second attack it has been 2 years approximately.

There is no current cure for the disease, so the medicines I am taking now are just for blocking the potential and future attacks. The problem and the main fear is that an attack may cause a permanent and serious invalidity. So my current fear is that when the next attack comes back, I might not be able to walk any more... you never know, and you can’t recover. I have to take an injection every evening and my father, who is a doctor, is always with me. I feel well now, not 100 %, but I am not sure if I will ever be 100 %. I do not do fitness training anymore, because I have to avoid getting tired. Before, I used to travel by myself, but now, I need my parents or people to be with me so I do not do the tiring things when travelling.

The best thing is that I have not let this disease stop me living my life. I hope that if someone who is suffering from MS,  hears my story, can fight the same way I am doing by living their life doing what they love, which for me is playing golf. Yesterday, the 28th May, was a #onedaywish the hashtag of the campaign that has been running over the world, and my wish is “One day I won’t fear my future”. Currently my fear is that someday in the future, I won’t be able to have my own family and take care of it or end up on a wheel chair… So the way I see life and play golf has, of course, changed completely now. Some days I feel better and other days are worse, but the best thing is that I have many people supporting me. It would not been the same without the love from my family , boyfriend and friends… They are my gasoline… my medicine.”

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