A couple of days ago I wrote on Twitter that it felt strange shouting about MPS Awareness Week at a time like this. After all, why should anyone care about a rare condition that no-one has ever heard of, when they’ve all got their own worries at the moment?
But the more I think about it, the more relevant it does seem.
I suppose it also follows on from my last post – Trapped – that I’d completely forgotten about until coming on here just now. (Unsurprising. It was written a whole two months ago.)
Covid-19 has brought the whole world to a standstill. Normal life no longer seems real. People are worried about the future, worrying about whether they can still work. Dealing with stomach-churning anxiety when doing the simplest of tasks. Stuck indoors and isolated from everyone else. We clap the NHS every week.
Welcome to the world of an MPS parent.
Listening to the emotions that many are going through during lockdown brings back memories of the time we were first told that Pudding had MPSII (Hunter Syndrome). It was a bombshell, rocking our world. All plans went out the window. I felt like I was stuck on a rollercoaster, my heart constantly lodged in my throat and life became more about hospitals and than school sports days, and NHS staff became my heroes. As time went by, Pudding’s behaviour often made it easier to stay at home away from other families who would point and make rude comments. Isolation among MPS families (as with others dealing with disability) is common.
But the analogy doesn’t hold up for long.
Covid-19 is a horrible virus, that spreads easily and has caused many deaths. But we will see an end to the chaos eventually. Scientists are working flat-out on vaccines and treatments. And until then, unless you are in one of the vulnerable groups (which include many people with MPS) there is a good chance that you will pull through.
Some types of MPS do have better treatments right now. But particularly for those with progressive MPS 2 or 3, once the crisis of Covid-19 is over, the future still doesn’t look bright. Once we have been handed that diagnosis we know what the future will bring, and it is not one that any parent wants to hear.
I don’t mean to underplay this trauma that everyone is going through right now – after all, we’re going through it too. But I hope it explains why I will still shout louder about MPS awareness at this time.
Please join me on Twitter or Facebook on the 15th May in wearing blue (or purple internationally) – we’d love to see your pictures.