'Mouth spray could help me to get back on my two feet'
A MULTIPLE sclerosis sufferer who relies on a wheelchair to get around is hoping to walk again one day.
Karen Gill, 41, of Ilchester, believes a mouth spray called Sativex she was prescribed when she lived in Cambridgeshire could help her walk using crutches.
The mother-of-three, who moved to Somerset three years ago, said: "It helps me with walking. I've asked my doctors and they said, 'we don't do it down here'. It would help me so much I would pay for it.
"In Cambridgeshire I used to walk on crutches which was really good. It would mean so much to me; it's not very nice sitting in a chair."
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Mrs Gill, who is originally from Bridgwater, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2004. She visited her doctor after experiencing pins and needles in her feet and, after tests, was told she had the incurable disease which affects the central nervous system.
She was forced to give her up her job as a catering assistant at a school as her condition quickly deteriorated. She lost her mobility seven months after her diagnosis.
Symptoms of the disease include extreme tiredness, muscle weakness, memory loss, inability to concentrate and anxiety. Mrs Gill, who also suffers spasms in her left hand and leg, said she has "good days" and "bad days" and can find it difficult to do simple tasks, such as making herself a drink or preparing a meal.
She said: "Good days are when I am able to do things. I can do the washing up, make myself a coffee, a slice of toast. Bad days are when my husband gets me out of bed and my body can't take my weight. I may not be able to stand up.
"It can be frustrating. I just want to be able to walk. I read stories about people's mobility coming back and wish that would happen to me."
Mrs Gill's house has been adapted to be wheelchair-friendly but she said it can be difficult navigating roads and pavements as drop kerbs can be hard to find.
She added: "My family have been really supportive. They try to help me so much. If I'm feeling low, they will ask me what's wrong and give me a cuddle and ask if I want a coffee or something to eat.
"If it wasn't for them then life would be much more difficult."
A spokesman for Somerset Primary care Trust said: "The drug Sativex can only be recommended and prescribed by a hospital specialist. If a patient believed they would gain benefit from being prescribed the drug they should first discuss this with their hospital consultant who can advise on the personal risks and benefits.
"Where a patient's doctor or hospital consultant believes a drug or treatment, not routinely funded by the NHS, might offer a patient some clinical benefit they can write to the primary care trust requesting funding. Such requests are reviewed on a patient-by-patient basis and after proper consideration."