Alexia Zannettidou

Despite the little support provided by the Cyprus government, and competing demands for her time and energy, Alexia is a woman who has overcome the odds to live the life she wants despite having MS. She speaks four languages, has a job, is a mother and has a happy home life, with the support of her husband. Through the Cyprus Multiple Sclerosis Association, she has accessed medical treatment – physiotherapy and psychological counselling – and by meeting with others living with MS she has found ways to accept and live with MS.

By meeting with MS patients through the MS Association, and exchanging your opinions on MS, I believe people can accept and live with MS.
More than four years ago, I felt a startling numbness spread through my legs. It didn’t pass, so I visited my doctor a few days later, and three months afterwards I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. At the time, I was only 27. I was devastated.

MS means that I have sometimes have difficulties walking and I usually feel tired without doing anything at all. This means I can’t work a full eight-hour day, but I do work part-time. It is hard to find good jobs where you can work for fewer than eight hours in a row.

I take medication – Gylenai Fingolimod – and that really helps me cope. I have to buy it, since the government provides no support yet, but it is worth it. I also take a rest after lunch, and I try to walk for one hour each day.

I do the best I can, but obviously MS has a big impact on me. I have a family, I live with my husband and child in Nicosia (Cyprus), and even with my husband’s help, taking care of a household is a lot of work. So we pay someone to come clean the house. Still, sometimes I believe that my family does not really understand how I feel. I keep trying to do what I was able to do before MS, but it’s not possible.

I am a member of theCyprus Mutiple Sclerosis Association and through the Association, I’ve been able to access physiotherapy and psychological counselling. These have helped me to feel better. I feel less pain and it is easier to talk about some things.

The Multiple Sclerosis Association has helped me to feelbetter about myself. I feel less pain now, and find it easier to talkabout some things.

By meeting with MS patients and exchanging opinions on MS, I have been able to accept and live with MS. It has benefitted my family as well.

Cypriot people who live with MS struggle to access treatment and financial support, they also have problems getting support at work, and with finding employment. They experience discrimination. As far as I know, the government doesn’t provide many resources for people with MS. I have access to a neurologist and for now can access the treatments I need, but I don’t know what support there would be if I couldn’t work. I would like the government to stop discriminating against people with MS.

My advice to other people with MS is, keep showing others what you can achieve.