When Alan Kyle experienced heat while working in Libya, he had no idea it was an early symptom. multiple sclerosis.
Three-year-old Dad, Alan, 49, went to North Africa to work as a project manager.
When he first began to suffer from unusual hot flashes he suspected that they might be related to the vaccinations he was given for his regular trips abroad.
He was destroyed and later diagnosed with MS.
Alan, who received the shocking news at the age of 35 and has now lived with the progressive, debilitating illness for 14 years, said: “In 2008, I was working in Libya and needed to get jags to go there.
“I would work for up to five days at a time, return home for a few weeks, and then return to Libya.
“One morning I woke up and my whole body – from the base of my neck to my toes – was red hot, as if I were on fire.
“I thought it was weird but swept it aside as a reaction to the cracks I had a few days before.
“When I returned home from Libya, I had another similar attack. I went to the hospital. They immediately assumed I had a heart attack or stroke. Before that Christmas, I was diagnosed with recurrent recurrent MS.”
Alan, from Glasgow, continued to live his life as fully as possible with the form of MS where he would experience outbreaks of the disease but would have periods of recovery between outbreaks.
Four years later, on Christmas Day, his condition deteriorated dramatically.
Alan said: “On Christmas Day 2012, I was taken to hospital.
“I sat down after my Christmas meal and I couldn’t go back. I never really walked again. ”
Alan continued to work until his condition made the job he loved impossible. Divorced Alan now lives with his mom, June, who helps give him the day-to-day care he needs.
He said: “Losing my 25-year career was like taking off a safety cover.
“I kept working until two years ago when I felt I was no longer pulling my weight and couldn’t justify it.
“My MS made it difficult to concentrate and I worked weekends to get there. I tried to live on my own for a while but when it became unmanageable, I moved in with my mom.
“She’s doing everything for me and, although a 76-year-old soldier, it’s becoming a little bit for her now.
“That’s the last thing I want. I want to enjoy time with my mom without feeling overwhelmed. “
While Alan tends to be aware of the symptoms of MS, which affects around 15,000 people living in Scotland.
He also wants to praise the work of charity Leuchie House, in North Berwick, a national rest center that provides much-needed breaks to people suffering from a wide range of long-term neurological conditions.
Alan is an ambassador for the East Lothian charity’s summer campaign, Beyond the Break, which highlights the impact of rest that can have long after a stay in the center.
Alan, who has three teenage children, said: “When I first came to Leuchie, I was nervous, but an hour after I arrived, I was completely home.
“Leuchie has all the comforts you need, which is important when you can’t do much for yourself.
“The best part is, while I was there, my mother was able to breathe and spend time with my sister and her friends.
“For me the highlight of my stay was to test the enabling technology with the help of the digital team.
“Using voice commands to turn lights on and off, opening and closing curtains or controlling the TV may sound simple, but constantly asking someone to do these things will bother you and you and your caretaker.
“It was amazing to have the opportunity to try things out for the first time and see the difference it would make for my mother and me at home.
“So, I’ve had something similar installed since I came back from my last break.”
Alan encourages people to support the charity’s new fundraising campaign.
Mark Bevan, CEO of Leuchie House, added: “Around one million people in Scotland live with a neurological condition that has a significant impact on their lives.
“Our vision is that people like Alan, living with conditions such as multiple sclerosis, MND, Parkinson’s and stroke, should be given the tools and opportunities to manage their condition so that they can live fuller and more independent lives.”