I used to be quite memorable to people that met me – being tall (6 ft 1 in or 1.85 m), extrovert (quite loud, but friendly) and sporty. I was even considered quite clever in a nerdy, science type of way (i.e. I got O-levels, A-levels and a good degree, which I guess alludes to my age!)
My degree is in Mechanical Engineering, which shows that I’m quite stubborn and like to be a bit different (at least it did when I took my degree at Imperial College, London: 1986-1989). I had to gain industrial sponsorship, because I was a girl & went to an all-girl school. Thus I was sponsored by & initially worked in a Mechanical Engineering research labs in Leicester, before joining an engineering consultancy in Peterborough, because my elders & betters at the time said that research was not providing sufficient experience of “commercial” work. So I swapped tinkering and investigating (which I loved) for negotiating contracts / site management (which I liked a bit less / OK, I largely hated). Finally, the clouds parted and I was given the opportunity to work with Intellectual Property (no, I’d never heard of it either!) and I discovered the perfect mix between research (the fun bit, but less time consuming) and commerce (you helped gain valuable “property” for the poor researcher, who could add a defined value to those in the commercial world). This took me to London & then Bristol.
Now, this did involve 6-7 years more study, but I enjoyed it and I finally gained my post graduate qualifications in Intellectual Property law, which entitled me to a put a few more letters after my name! It also provided me with the the opportunity to use my less than proficient, but nonetheless modest skills in French & German. I also enjoyed my training so much that I’ve been a long term tutor helping new candidates to pass their European Qualifying Examinations (for patents).
During this period, I’ve played and help organise lots of team sports (best – worst); netball, basketball, tennis & football. So that’s the running-walking … what happens next?
In 2001/2002 we visited Sydney AUS, but then I kept falling over (impressive when you’re tall !) Then MRIs mid. 2002 & end 2003 + lots more tests and formally diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. Largely invisible until 2008/9 but then I started to need to use 1 stick, then 2 sticks, then crutches and now I use a walker indoors and a wheelchair outside. I still worked full-time until 2013, but partly from a home office and I took redundancy at the start of 2014 to set up my own company. This allowed me more flexibility, time for medical appointments and less stress (but I don’t half “work” some very peculiar hours now!) At the end of 2014 I was told that I was “transitioning to Secondary Progressive MS”.
So there you have it: Running-waking-falling-rolling & … (now ready for the new start!)