A mom has been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) – after doctors originally said her symptoms were caused by her COVID-19 jab.
Anna Barrow, 38, was told she had MND in May this year after she started experiencing a loss of sensation in her arm.
The symptom first appeared in March 2021 but doctors told her it could be nerve damage from having her COVID-19 jab too high up in her arm.
Anna was told it should get better in the next 18 months but her symptoms progressively got worse and the loss of sensation spread across her body.
She was then urgently referred to a neurology department but was told that there was a 71-week waiting list.
While waiting for an appointment, Anna was in a work meeting when she realized she was struggling to breathe and swallow, which prompted her to go to A&E.
After a two-week hospital stay and numerous tests, Anna was diagnosed with MND.
Anna said: “It was really difficult.
“They had kept me in hospital and were doing loads of tests so we knew it was potentially not going to be good news.
“I was a social worker so I’ve worked with a few people with MND but they’ve all been male if they’re younger and then there’s been a few older people with it.
“I knew it was a possibility but with my age and being female, I just didn’t think it would be that.”
Anna has been with husband Martyn, 39, since she was 16 and they have three daughters – Tilly, 18, Eve, 15 and Fallon, 13.
The couple said the hardest thing was telling their children because they know ‘it’s something that we’ve got to deal with every day.’
Martyn said: “We realized it was pretty serious when the doctors said to Anna that she needed to let them know when I arrived.
“They literally told us and it was heartbreaking – there were a lot of tears and they kept going and coming back.
“The first thing we thought about was the kids.
“You have good days and bad days now and it’s not something that you can deal with and then move on with.
“We know it’s here now and it’s something that we’ve got to deal with every day.
“We said we would deal with it how we always deal with stuff – with humor and positivity.”
Although the disease can affect anyone of any age, it mainly affects people in their 60s or their 70s.
Anna, of Eccles, England, said: “We think only 5,000 people in the UK have it and I’ve been told I’m the youngest female with it in the area.
“We went to an MND association branch meeting and we sat on a table with a family whose uncle had just been recently diagnosed.
“Then people came over and were asking who in my family had been affected and I had to say it was me.
“At my first hospital consultation, one of the nurses came out and was wandering around the waiting room looking for me.
“She was clearly looking for an older person.”
As there is currently no cure for MND, Anna has been told to ‘live her life’ the best she can, so the family is planning to take their children to Disney.
Charity worker Martyn said: “It doesn’t get better as it’s progressive.
“There’s different challenges so you have to just move forward with it.
“The doctor has told Anna to go and live her life and make memories.
“We’ve got a holiday planned for August for a week and we’re trying to plan to take the girls to Disney.
“It’s something that Anna has always wanted to do with the kids and now we need to get that done.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
Edited by Saba Fatima and Asad Ali
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