Life after MS diagnosis: not 'doom and gloom'
"DEVASTATED" is the word Chris Bacon uses to describe the immediate feeling upon hearing her 23-year-old daughter Jodie's diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.
Mother and daughter had been returning to Chinchilla from Toowoomba in August last year and were passing through Warra when they received the phone call.
"We'd gone to Toowoomba... taken Jodie down to get that (MRI) scan... got in the car and headed back to Chinchilla. We got as far as Warra when Dr Vino rung and said to turn around and go back to Toowoomba because they want to start (treatment)," Mrs Bacon said.
"I couldn't even concentrate on the road then. It was just horrible."
The young woman who described herself as "a fit and healthy person" had held down two part-time jobs in hospitality, was the mum to a four-year-old boy and engaged to Robert Adams when she began suffering from health problems which were later identified as symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS).
"What made me pick it up was I woke up (one day) and had double vision," Jodie said.
"Looking back, I suppose I could see it coming on, because you feel really dizzy and light-headed and tired."
She admitted the initial shock of the diagnosis had been "pretty devastating" to the point she had broken down in tears while on the phone to her doctor.
But once the news was allowed to sink in, and she and her family could conduct their own research into MS, she realised it wasn't "the end of the world".
"It could have been something terminal. But you don't know that stuff, you don't know anything about the disease until you're diagnosed," she said.
"You think it's the end of the world but it's not really."
One of the things the family had found uplifting since Jodie's MS diagnosis was the story of Australian comedian Tim Ferguson, who only made his MS diagnosis public knowledge in recent years after living with the condition since he was 19.
"It's not doom and gloom," Mrs Bacon said.
"He's more upbeat and positive and it's well worth hearing from another person (experiencing MS)."
Inspired by the support Jodie and her family had received since her diagnosis from The MS Society of Queensland, her fiance Robert decided to participate in the charity's annual fundraiser, the Brissie to Bay bike ride.
Held in June, participants cycle from Brisbane to the Bay in order to raise funds for MS research.
Mr Adams is in training for the 100km ride, setting himself the fundraising goal of $1000, which he is already on track to reaching.
And he won't be doing it alone either, with Jodie planning to join him.
The 23-year-old hasn't needed to work very hard to find the silver linings and positives that unexpectedly come from being diagnosed with an incurable illness at such a young age.
"A lot of MS is doom and gloom," Jodie said, reiterating the words of her mother.
"I don't see the point in being sad about it. I've still got a life.
"It's given me a reason to start doing the things I've always wanted to."
To help Jodie Bacon and Robert Adams with their fundraising for the Brissie to the Bay bike ride, visit www.msqldevents.com.au/champion/2017-MS-Brissie-to-the-Bay/JodieBacon.
Donations can also be deposited into:
MS Society of Queensland,
(BSB:) 014 278,
(Acc No:) 3648 00025,
(reference:) B2B17 0414 939 434.