When she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Rebecca Saady saw the life she had always taken for granted crumble around her.
But exactly two years later, the Hendon Lane, Finchley, resident is determined not to succumb to the disease and is speaking out as part of MS Awareness Week.
The now 28-year-old developed constant pins and needles in her legs in September 2011, and a neurologist told her she had lesions on her brain which could end up resulting in MS.
But it was not until May 2012 when her vision became blurred and she lost sight in one eye that she was officially diagnosed with the condition.
Her symptoms now vary from day to day, but the neurological condition often leaves her exhausted and the simplest of tasks can days to recover.
She said: “It’s like a lottery because you never know when it’s going to attack and how long it will last for. I’m like a phone you need to keep charging.
“One of the things I hate is people telling me I don’t look like I’m sick. And sometimes when I have a bad day, I look like I’m drunk as I struggle to walk, which is frustrating.
“My life isn’t like a normal 28-year-old’s anymore. The old Rebecca isn’t here, this is my new life. It was hard to adjust and I was in denial for the first year, I couldn’t absorb it.”
Heat can exacerbate her condition meaning beach holidays are now out of the question, as her nerves could be badly affected if her natural body temperature rises by just a fifth.
She relapsed over Christmas which affected her balance, and despite having intense physiotherapy, it has caused irreparable damage to her brain.
Her parents, brother and boyfriend, who she has been with for almost eight years, have been incredibly supportive throughout her ordeal.
She added: “My boyfriend says I’m still the same person he met – even though I don’t feel it. I really have to think about how to walk now.
“Now I under do everything – the voice at the back of my head says the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
Before her diagnosis, she was working in an office as a PA - but the illness meant she was forced to give up her job.
But determined not to wallow, she continued to study for her degree in nutrition and has now launched company Embrace Nutrition to encourage healthy eating.
She is also currently writing her first cookery book.
She added: “I used to love steaks and salt – but now I’ve got a really strict diet. It’s helped my symptoms massively.
“In a sick way, everything happens for a reason. If I had never been affected by this, I’d currently be sat in an office, bored out of my mind. It’s funny how things work out.”