Patrick lives in Dublin. He has Multiple Sclerosis.

15 years ago Patrick had a spinal fusion following a horse riding accident, soon after the operation he noticed he was starting to stumble when playing tennis. Then, while on holiday in Jordan 8 years ago, he suddenly lost all the feeling in his right leg from the knee downwards, “I felt like I was carrying my leg, I had been doing a lot of walking so put it down to that and it recovered in a few days.

Our client Patrick, he has multiple sclerosis

Over the next few months the symptoms came and went repeatedly in his right leg and Patrick decided to return to the doctor to try and find out what was happening but they found nothing at this stage. After many visits to doctors and following a lumbar puncture, he was finally diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis PPMS, Linear progression of symptoms and non-remitting 7 years ago. By this time he also had symptoms in his right hand and arm, and was told that this disease can sometimes occur following spinal surgery.

More information on multiple sclerosis can be on found on the MS Society and MS Trust websites.

His symptoms have been getting gradually worse since last winter and he has continued to work very hard in his role as a solicitor, but noticed that he was getting very tired, “I was really beginning to struggle so I asked my physio to recommend somewhere I could go that was like a health farm but with rehab. I didn’t want somewhere with a hospital/clinical environment. There is no where in Ireland that offers residential rehabilitation. I was told about STEPS by my physiotherapist, so I initially had a chat on the phone with one of the STEPS team, and we arranged a Skype call for an assessment.

Following the assessment an admission date and rehab programme was planned and Patrick travelled to Sheffield for a 2 week stay with us.

Patrick describes his experience at STEPS as, “It is not institutional at all, when I arrived I thought it was more like a boutique hotel. I love the dining area and although my wife and I were concerned that being around clients who were much more unwell than me would be depressing, actually it was the opposite and made me feel more positive. I think this is because everyone is so positive clients and staff. There is a real sense of positivity and a great atmosphere in the building, the staff are so cheerful and have a great attitude.”

This was the first time I have seen a neuro psychologist and I found this extremely helpful. My outlook has changed completely and I now realise I need to make changes. Dr Davies has also helped me to realise this. I have become more positive.

As I was a residential client at STEPS this meant I was not working and in turn getting enough rest, so I was able to really benefit from all the therapies and exercise programme. I had neurological music therapy for the first time and I found this was very useful.”

When asked what were his expectations of his stay at STEPS Patrick said he wanted to see if it was possible to improve his balance and strength in his right leg and arm. “I used to call it my bad arm now I call it my right arm! I can now use it to clean my teeth and shave.”

Overall experience

I got more out of it than I expected, I am now positive about my condition and not afraid of it anymore. I am determined with more rehabilitation I can now maintain a good quality of life. I would highly recommend STEPS.”