When I’d first found out that I might have MS, I went on a mission to find out as much as I can about it. This involved researching all the reputable websites possible (you know, like MS Trust and MS Society and the NHS).
I also found my way into a couple of forums. Shift.MS seem to do so much for people with MS and have loads of great resources, but after a couple of days on that forum, I just found myself terrified. People were only turning to it in their “dark” periods. It was awful. Fortunately, I was pretty quick to realise the damage it had already started doing, and unsubscribed from it.
I found lots of apps too, which connect you with people around you. Again, these seemed like a good idea at the time but I rapidly went off them.
One looked pretty good though. MS Buddy. MS Buddy is an app you can download and it matches you with someone else with MS. That bit wasn’t the appeal to me though. What really did tick the box for me, was that you receives regular push notifications telling you about advances in clinical research and stuff. Having that info coming to me, hugely appealed to me, rather than having to go searching for it.
Trouble was, everytime I clicked on one of those push notifications, it took me to the sign in page. And I couldn’t sign in.
As part of the sign up process you have to say what type of MS you have. There was no option for “awaiting diagnosis”. Even though I knew deep down what I had, it felt wrong to put something that was yet to be confirmed by a medical professional. It just didn’t feel right. A bit like sending the wrong message to the universe!
Anyway, as I was getting fed up with receiving notifications for information I wanted to read, but couldn’t access I just decided to delete the app for the time being.
After I’d received my diagnosis, it took me a few weeks to remember about MS Buddy. I did eventually remember it though, and deciding I wanted to have the medical research information come to me I quickly downloaded it and signed up.
Within minutes I’d received my first match. She was in America, was a similar age to me and had been diagnosed with MS two years prior. I was lacking the courage to message her first, but only another few minutes later I received a message from somebody else.
“Bubbles” was a 31 year old, married male from Plymouth. He had relapsing remitting MS and had done so for quite some time.
His first message to me was a long the lines of “great to see a fellow Brit on here”.
To which I replied by agreeing, that there didn’t appear to be many Brits at all based on my initial glance.
This didn’t bother me really – as I’ve already said, my driver for using this app was the news stories on medical advances.
He then replied with the following message, which was absolutely LOADED but in my usual way of wandering obliviously through life, didn’t get it at all!
“You’re from Wigan I see. Is it true what they say about girls from Wigan?”
I replied (which was my first mistake)!
“Well I wouldn’t know seeing as I’m not from there, I just live here. Are you referring to the pie thing by any chance?”
Him: “Aah it might not apply to you then!”
Me: “What exactly?”
Him: “That girls from Wigan have big boobs!”
Me: *deletes app, but not until after shrieking eww, and sharing my disgust with my friend Kat*
So me and Bubbles didn’t hit it off.
It gave me and the girls an excellent laugh though and an excuse to whinge about how some men have no shame and will try to pick up women ANYWHERE!
One of my friends had immense fun coming up with dating site names but they’re best placed in a game of “Cards against humanity” so I’ll spare the details so that she can remain a decent human being!
**EDIT** The more I’ve reflected on this story, the more I’ve realised how awful it is. Sure, I see the funny side, but some people sign up who perhaps aren’t. in a great place when dealing with their health condition. They could be signing for genuine support or answers. It’s a scary time and SO overwhelming. To for all intents and purposes “prey” on people in that way is quite frankly, abhorrent.