Thursday, 13 March 2014

Planning, Preparation and Disneyland Paris!

One of my biggest problems since being diagnosed with MS is that I don't know how to plan. I keep going until I drop instead of looking after myself and making the most out of my days!
So, as you can imagine, getting ready for our holiday was quite challenging! There was so much to do before we went but it was working out what was the priority that I found quite tough!
I'm my own worst enemy too because I have to do everything myself, for example, packing, I couldn't let my husband do it otherwise I'd worry that we didn't have everything so I got it all put together in piles but then I did ask one of my carers to help me with physically packing it........even that was tough going though because no one else can pack the same as you do yourself can they?!?!

I've always found looking after myself quite difficult. As children, my siblings and I were always taught to be independent and to stand on our own two feet and that is what I always tried to do. I was working two jobs when I was diagnosed and I always remember thinking, when I was signed off sick and couldn't even think about going to work, that if someone had come along and said that I couldn't work, I'd have snapped their hand off at the chance but when you are in the position where you physically can't go to work it's a totally different feeling. I guess because the decision has been taken out of my hands. Because I physically can't do the work and being in pain and having fatigue that means I can't keep my eyes open no matter how hard I try, the decision is actually taken out of my hands. I haven't sat back and thought "you know what, I'm not going to bother working any more" it's been a case of "you can't work anymore" it makes all the difference in mentally accepting the situation you are in. 

So we went to Disneyland Paris and what an amazing time we had! 
There were a few decisions that we made when we booked the holiday which were really good decisions! Taking the car was one,  it meant that we weren't relying on the free buses that were available and I had taken my wheelchair so having the car just made that so much easier. 
I have a blue badge so we didn't have to pay for parking at Disney and we were able to park  as close to the parks as possible which made everything a lot easier too. 
We had booked the hotel for a week although most people who go to Disneyland Paris tend to go for 3 or 4 days. But that decision was a good one too because it gave us plenty of time to do everything without having to rush to fit it all in. This was probably one of the biggest advantages that we had. We had time for rests if we needed it and that was a great help.
We had been told that when we got to the parks to go to the Disneyland Park first and go to a place called City Hall, which is basically their customer services place. I was told to take my blue badge with me and this would get us an access pass. It is a card that tells the ride staff what type of mobility issues you have,  for example whether you are wheelchair bound or whether you can transfer out of your chair onto the ride, that sort of thing. I can transfer so that meant I was able to go on most of the rides! But having that card was a Godsend. It meant that we didn't have to queue for any of the rides. We had to wait maybe five or ten minutes but not thirty to forty minutes or over an hour on some of the rides and that made all the difference to our enjoyment of the parks.
The only problem we had and it wasn't really a problem was that we had wanted to go into Paris to do some sightseeing. There were some excursions that went from the hotels that would have been the easiest way for us to do it. We didn't really want to drive into the centre of Paris! But the first excursion couldn't take my wheelchair and there was walking involved on the tour so I didn't want to do that. Then the second tour could take my chair but it gave you four hours in the centre of Paris as free time and we didn't want to get stuck in there twiddling our thumbs waiting for the coach to come back! So we didn't go into Paris.......but we have been before so it wasn't a huge problem! 

So all in all we had a very successful trip and we can't thank the MS Society and a couple of other charities enough because between them they paid for us to have ten unforgettable days away. And yes those ten days were amazing but the lift it has given us since we've been home has been great too. I keep looking at our photos and reliving the time we had there so it really has made a difference to us.
I would urge anyone who has MS but can't afford to go away or if there's something specific you want to do but can't afford to, apply to the MS Society's Social and Activities fund. That is exactly what it is there for. If it hadn't been for my friend who told me about the fund and encouraged me to apply we wouldn't have these wonderful memories! :-)

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