A DENTAL nurse who refused to believe she had had MS is now helping others face up to the life-changing illness.

Gillian McGhee suffered symptoms for two years before she finally went to the doctor in 2017.

The 31-year-old, who works for Crosshill Dental Practice in Port Glasgow, had been experiencing numbness and tingling sensation in her left foot and toes which spread up her body.

She said: "At first I thought it was due to wearing stupid shoes and too many cocktails but when it started spreading I thought 'this isn't right'.

"I could walk but I would be in the middle of the treatment room at the surgery and my whole body would seize up and I would drop something.

"I would get really annoyed at myself.

"I always have a tingling in my left hand and my legs feel heavy."

Her GP referred Gillian to a neurologist and she was sent for a series of tests including MRI and CT scans at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

The tests were carried out over a nine-month period.

Gillian who lives with her husband Mark in South Street, said: "I hadn't heard anything and asked my GP if he had heard.

"He told me 'demyelination' - I'd never heard of it before, Googled it and it was MS."

The term describes the condition that results in damage to the protective covering Myelin sheath that surrounds nerve fibres in the brain, optic nerves and spinal cord which causes neurological problems.

She said: "It was horrible - I was in total denial that's what it was.

"It was never anything that crossed my mind."

After a consultant confirmed the diagnosis Gillian had an appointment with a specialist nurse who discussed treatment choices.

She decided to try Beta interferon, which she injects every week.

Gillian said: "It suppresses my immune system and stops it attacking my nervous system.

"I also get an annual MRI scan to make sure there is nothing new or active."

Gillian refused to take time off work because she didn't want the condition to take over her life.

She has relapsing and remitting MS which means it can flare up but there are other periods when she is well.

She said: "I feel fortunate it's not progressive but there is nothing to say it won't become progressive.

"I think the worst thing is not knowing what is going to happen with it."

Gillian has benefited from support from the MS Society, who offered advice for her and her family plus online peer support.

She has taken part in research studies and is now helping others.

Gillian said: "It was so helpful speaking to other people in the same position and to get hints and tips coping with work and home and things you have to do on a daily basis."

The MS Society will be hosting a Living Well with MS event in Greenock's Craigend Resource Centre on March 30 and April 3 between 3 and 6pm.

Gillian is urging people who have been recently diagnosed to go along.

For more information contact Susi Paden or Coleen Kelly at MS Society Scotland on 0131 335 4050 or email receptionratho@mssociety.org.uk