Greens MP Golriz Ghahraman has revealed she is living with multiple sclerosis.
The former-United Nations lawyer made the announcement on Three’s The Project on Wednesday night.
In an interview with one of the show’s hosts, Kanoa Lloyd, Ghahraman said she was diagnosed with the disease about 18 months ago.
“I thought it was time I started to talk about that,” she told the programme.
“I wanted to kind of live with it I think for a bit, and get my head around what it meant to live with MS, and have everyone in my life know about it first.
“But I realised slowly that actually there’s also stigma that comes for people living with MS out in the community, and maybe it would help for us all to start talking about it a little bit more.”
Ghahraman’s first “attack” over a number of days was when she began to go blind in her left eye, she said.
“That’s when it kind of started to kick in for me that there might be something else wrong.”
Specialists told her there was a 50 per cent chance she had multiple sclerosis.
“I thought, ‘No, oh, not me’.”
Ghahraman was the exact age and gender of the average multiple sclerosis diagnosis at the time of her confirmation of having the disease, she said.
She was now on “the most hardcore” medication, she said.
Ghahraman said it was important for New Zealanders to know their House of Representatives “is representative”.
“We come with all sorts of different lived experiences and that includes disability and healthcare needs. The MS community deserves that.
“You do have those moments of going like, ‘Why me?’ But we kind of have this incredible access to medication now that means we can live really long, healthy, relatively full lives.”
On Twitter on Wednesday evening, Ghahraman said it was the first time she had spoken publicly about her having the disease.
“I’ve learned so much about community, equality and access to care. Mostly, it showed me how strong and capable the MS and broader disability community really are – and the importance of our right to representation,” she wrote.
Today is the first time I spoke publicly about life with MS.
I’ve learned so much about community, equality and access to care. Mostly, it showed me how strong and capable the MS and broader disability community really are – and the importance of our right to representation 💚
— Golriz Ghahraman (@golrizghahraman)
In a separate Twitter post Wednesday evening, Ghahraman wrote her diagnosis has been one of the “biggest challenges and incredible learning opportunities” she’s had as an MP.
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a disease marked by the body’s immune system eating away at the protective covering of nerves.
It can cause symptoms including vision loss, pain, impaired coordination and fatigue. Treatment can help, but there’s no cure for the disease.
Ghahraman has been an MP since 2017.
This content was originally published here.