When you are diagnosed with a lifelong condition it is only natural to wonder what the future might hold.

That was certainly the case when Kate Else, 55, of Farndon was diagnosed with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis, a neurological condition that affects the brain and spinal cord.

Kate is an athlete who used to run for the county and has completed both marathons and half marathons. She initially felt something was wrong five years ago when she started to get painful pins and needles in her feet.

Kate Else completing the London Marathon
Kate Else completing the London Marathon

She visited her GP where she explained she was concerned it could be MS. She was told it was unlikely but it was difficult to diagnose.

Tests failed to pinpoint the problem and she was referred to the Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham. It was then her records revealed that she had previously been concerned about blurry vision, another common symptom of the condition.

She said when she was finally told what the problem was it was a shock but a relief too.

"As an athlete I think you know your body really well," she said. "And I knew something was wrong."

There are three types of multiple sclerosis with 85% of people diagnosed with Kate's type. It is more common in women than men and usually diagnosed when a person is in their 20s or 30s.

The symptoms vary from day to day. Some people will experience a relapse which is the appearance of a new symptom or reappearance of an old one. In between relapses are times of remission when symptoms have improved or gone away completely.

"It is very difficult to predict what will happen because it effects each person in different ways," said Kate. "When I asked the doctor what it would mean to me he said I could be having to use a stick in ten years' time, but I may have had to do that anyway."

A month before her diagnosis Kate decided to give up running because she kept falling over due to her balance. She now opts for the safe environment of the gym where she runs on the treadmill. She also does yoga and meditation.

Kate remains an important member of the athletic club and is one of the organisers of the Newark Half-marathon.

The condition means she suffers from pins and needles in her feet and sometimes gets extremely tired. But she still works full time as a civil servant in Nottingham and is determined that life should remain as normal as possible.

"I have got multiple sclerosis but multiple sclerosis hasn't got me," she said.

Kate Else working in her garden
Kate Else working in her garden

Kate has taken part in information days at Nottingham where she has been able to meet other people with the condition but would really like to get an informal support group set up in Newark.

"You can feel isolated at times," she said. "It is good to meet others who are going through a similar thing. Everybody has a different story."

Anybody interested in getting a group started should contact on her kate.else@btinternet.com