"I will never give up fighting" - Norfolk woman's battle with MS
PUBLISHED: 14:58 12 November 2018 | UPDATED: 06:52 13 November 2018
In 2008, two days before her daughter's first birthday, Vicky Rapley lost the sight in her left eye.
“It was like someone had put a pair of glasses on me and smothered the left lens in thick Vaseline,” Ms Rapley said. “No matter how many times I rinsed it, rubbed it or blinked, the vision was still the same and within a few hours I had a monstrous headache to add to the worry.”
Ms Rapley, who lives in Brundall with her husband Phil and three children, thought she was just tired and went for an early night - but it made no difference. The next morning, still feeling unwell, she called 111 and was told to go immediately to A&E. Doctors first thought it was a brain tumour but a few days later told her it was a condition called optic neuritis.
“My husband and I breathed a sigh of relief,” she said. “We thought it was just one of those things.”
But a fortnight later Ms Rapley woke up without any feeling in the entire right side of her body. This was followed by more visits to hospital, where she had a lumbar puncture and an MRI scan, and in December was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, or MS.
Ms Rapley said that she then went into denial and wanted to pretend it was not happening. “But it was difficult to do that, because I kept relapsing and the body won’t allow you forget it,” she said.
After a year she decided to face up to it and be positive. She and her husband had always planned on having three children, even though the risks of relapsing after birth were very high. “We decided we weren’t going to let it beat us,” Ms Rapley said.
Lola, their third child, was born on Ms Rapley’s birthday in 2010.
And 10 years after the diagnosis Vicky is still living with the symptoms. She has no feeling in her hands, which has led to several burns and cuts, and the vision in her left eye never fully returned, but she has adjusted pretty well.
Her husband and children, Joey, 14, Molly, 11, and Lola, eight, give her reason to fight everyday,” she said, and added: “I will never give up fighting.”
Next month, Joey will embark on a fundraiser to mark the 10-year anniversary of his mother’s diagnosis by running 10km everyday for 10 days. His father will also take part. The first run will be at the University of East Anglia (UEA) sports park at 6pm on December 14. All are welcome to join and do not have to run the full distance. The fee is 60p to participate or watch. The last run will be on December 23, the anniversary date of Ms Rapley’s diagnosis.
To donate, go to: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/vicky-rapley