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Mildenhall mum with multiple sclerosis (MS) releases first book Not Just a Poet with poetry about life’s challenges





A Suffolk woman who battles multiple sclerosis (MS) and multiple other auto-immune conditions is over the moon with the release of her first book.

Going by the pen name, ZS Argenio, the mum-of-six from Mildenhall is proud that she has overcome a number of struggles to produce her debut publication Not Just a Poet.

The 45-year-old hopes to help others who have suffered or may be suffering in chapters full of poetry, covering a range of life challenges including addiction, mental health, family and more.

ZS Argenio is over the moon with the release of her debut book Not Just A Poet which came out on Christmas Day, 2022. Picture: Cameron Reid
ZS Argenio is over the moon with the release of her debut book Not Just A Poet which came out on Christmas Day, 2022. Picture: Cameron Reid

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that impacts the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. ZS Argenio currently has secondary progressive MS and has come a long way since she was diagnosed in December 2015, which saw her work and family life turn completely upside down.

She said: “One day, my right leg was all red and I couldn’t feel it at all.

“The next morning, I couldn’t move it and it was burning. It felt like someone was ironing my skin, it was horrible.

Anna Argenio is the partner and carer of ZS Argenio, who's support has been never-ending for the Mildenhall mum-of-six. Picture: Cameron Reid
Anna Argenio is the partner and carer of ZS Argenio, who's support has been never-ending for the Mildenhall mum-of-six. Picture: Cameron Reid

“It then just went downhill from there and I had to learn to walk again. I even forgot I had children.”

ZS Argenio, who used to work as a school play leader as well as be a carer for her daughter, seriously struggled in the months following the diagnosis.

She said: “Coming to terms with it was really difficult for me, especially how I had put my kids through it and I didn’t even know who they were at the time because my memory had been affected.

“I remember now, that my daughter had come to the hospital and I had thought it was my mum. It was very hard and scary for my kids as I was in and out of hospital all the time.

“I felt really bad and guilty, knowing I put the kids through all of that - that was the hardest thing for me.”

Her partner and also carer, Anna Argenio, 46, has been with ZS Argenio every step of the way over the last five years.

“It changed everything for her. It completely changed her home life and giving up work was hard for her too,” she said.

“There’s now a lot of focus on what she eats and drinks, she goes to hospital less and we cope with things better. There are still daily struggles and challenges for her though, it’s very up and down.

“Writing a book is hard enough, but to get through the regular obstacles as well as get it in print is even harder.”

ZS Argenio has been writing poetry and journals since she was a child and hasn’t let her conditions stop her. Her memory is seriously affected by her condition and thinking of words can be difficult, so often she has to get Anna's help and do some sort of 'charades' to try and figure it out together.

'Not Just A Poet' features poems for chapters covering mental health, love, nightmares, self-image and more. Picture: Cameron Reid
'Not Just A Poet' features poems for chapters covering mental health, love, nightmares, self-image and more. Picture: Cameron Reid

The Mildenhall mum was delighted when Not Just a Poet (which is not suitable for children) came out on Christmas Day and believes that it will truly help people.

“I’ve got a lovely family. I’m a very blessed human being to be in the position I’m in and I’m so lucky because there are people in my situation that don’t have anyone, that are by themselves and they give up.”

“I couldn't have done this book though without my family. A lot of people will relate to these poems and if it helps just one person, then that makes me happy. I hope it helps people to understand that they are not alone as so many people are suffering in silence.

“I’ve got a lovely family. I’m a very blessed human being to be in the position I’m in." Picture: Anna Argenio
“I’ve got a lovely family. I’m a very blessed human being to be in the position I’m in." Picture: Anna Argenio

“But I’m really happy that I actually completed it, I’m proud of myself for that.

Moving forward, ZS Argenio has another book coming soon and is looking to do book offerings and also talks at gatherings that help people who are struggling or have struggled.

“It's really important that people who may be sick, that they don’t have to let that define them as a person.

“People say you only live once. No, you live every day and you die once.”