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"It makes absolutely no sense that anybody resists the idea, in principle. Sitting in a doctor's surgery with her eldest daughter Anna-Louise by her side, TV personality Jane Felstead struggled to take in what the neurologist before her was saying. In fact, she has multiple sclerosis (MS) — a progressive disease of the brain and spinal cord.Shock: For more than two decades, Jane Felstead, 65 (pictured left, and right with daughter and MIC co-star, Binky Felstead), believed she had fibromyalgia because of chronic aching joints and fatigue.But neurological tests this year showed Jane had multiple sclerosis'I was terrified,' says Jane, who as well as Anna-Louise, 37, and 27- year-old Binky (real name Alexandra), has a son, Oliver, 36, with her now ex-husband Roger.'My maternal aunt had MS and was bedridden for the last 12 years of her life, so the moment the doctor said 'MS', all I could see in my mind was a wheelchair.'I was too shocked to cry.
This leads to inflammation, which interrupts the nerve signals between the brain, the spinal cord and the rest of the body. While for some the symptoms get steadily worse, about 80 per cent of patients have relapsing and remitting MS, with flare-ups followed by periods of remission. Klaus Schmierer, a consultant neurologist at Barts Health NHS Trust, says: 'Exposure to a viral infection, the most likely being the Epstein Barr virus, which causes glandular fever, is one candidate.'It is thought the virus may kick-start an autoimmune-type response, when the immune system attacks the body.'There is also an association with where you live,' adds Dr Schmierer.
Four weeks ago, having just become a grandmother to Binky's daughter India, and with Anna-Louise's baby Frederick then due any day, she received her diagnosis.