In 2012 Katy Deacon was diagnosed with MS and her life changed. She decided to share her story in the hopes it would inspire others to contact IET Connect for support.
I’m an engineer and I helped to promote engineering to women
In 2006 I won the Young Woman Engineer of the Year award, which was incredible! I loved the work I did after that; going round the country and talking to young girls and boys and trying to get them into engineering. It was really recognition from my employer. I finished my Master’s degree that year as well and then in 2009 I won the Karen Burt award, it was all phenomenal. I got married and children arrived and everything calmed down because life turned to domestic things and looking after babies. Then I got the diagnosis.
I thought it was a death sentence
I was so upset but I had lots of support from my husband, parents and friends, so I turned myself round and rebuilt a new ‘normal’. Over the years, things have stabilised but when I have a virus, all my symptoms are aggravated which is really upsetting. Last March, the virus I had was nothing special; everyone else had had it and recovered just fine. But for me, a virus with a raised temperature means I can't walk or even move my legs out of bed. My family was downstairs, my kids were running around, my husband was trying to sort everything out and there’s me stuck upstairs getting really upset. I couldn’t even go into my garden and I grieved for it. After a few days I just decided that getting upset was a waste of time and energy. I had the skills with my engineering to know what I had to do, so I did it, I got on with designing a new ground floor and outside space for the house.
I need to sort it, I need to go outside and be with my family
I’d heard of IET Connect all through my career. It was always something that somebody else would need. I didn’t think I would ever need it. It wasn’t until I had planned the redesign of our house that my husband said ‘why don’t you call IET Connect?’ I didn’t think they would be able to help me so didn’t call. My husband took it upon himself to call and spoke to somebody called Caroline. He told me ‘they think you should talk to them’ and that’s how it started.
It has enhanced all of our lives, I can be with my family now
We ended up getting a grant to make our house accessible to me. It means I can be with my family and go into my garden. It’s amazing! If you haven’t been able to do something or so long, having that opened up to you again is absolutely mind-blowing.
Now it’s all possible
When I was diagnosed everything from a work point of view got put away. It was very clear that progression was not possible. But I like progressing, I like achieving. Now, I think maybe I could do something more and maybe I do have enough about me to progress
Making sure we’re a family unit and we’re all doing well together is so important to me too. I am now able to be with my family. I am still here and still with my family and I want to make the most of that every day.