Multiple Sclerosis

MS is a neurological condition, also considered to be an autoimmune disorder although there are some which dispute this. For some reason the body attacks the nerve coating (myelin sheath, think of it as the plastic coating on electric wiring becoming damaged) in your brain and spinal cord, blocking the pathways, so for instance you could get numb fingers or lose all feeling in your legs. There are 3 main types of ms, the most common is relapsing remitting, whereby you have periods of (relative) normality and then get a ‘relapse’ when a new symptom occurs or old ones flare up again, they can last anything from a few days to a few months, generally you return to ‘normal’ but usually with a trace reminder of your new symptom. Secondary progressive follows on from this when you no longer have the relapses anymore but you enter a steady decline, quite often ending up immobile. The other type is primary progressive – no relapses, just a decline which can often be fairly fast and can be severe. There are variations on all of these types. There are new treatments being discovered all the time, but as the cause is unknown it takes a lot of research and therefore money to fund these treatments. I consider myself lucky, I am still fully mobile most of the time, (although that could change tomorrow in the blink of an eye) sometimes I need a walking stick or crutches to aid my mobility, sometimes from vertigo and sometimes from pain and numbness in my legs. I have varying symptoms but my one constant companion is extreme fatigue, limiting my daily life. Vitamin D has been shown to alleviate symptoms, hence one of the reasons for our move to a sunnier climate (plus the fact we love Crete). Further info is available from the MS society UK. One fact remains, there is no cure

Added by and thanks to Laura Harris

Working at Rethymno hospital and volunteering

Volunteering at Rethymno Hospital

Rethymno hospital is in real need of volunteers.
This can be for any particular kind of work or just general help.

If you want to find out more you can contact the hospital or write to and we’ll try to find answers to your queries.

Working at Rethymno Hospital

If you have previous nursing experience in your own country and are of working age then there is a certificate you can get to enable you to work in Rethymno Hospital.
You need to speak Greek at level A2.

If you want to find out more you can contact the hospital or write to and we’ll try to find answers to your queries. We can also forward you the application form, in Greek, for you to read and print out.

Volunteering to help nurses better their English

People who have become nurses here do have a certain level of knowledge of the English language but they are always keen to learn more. This also helps us, and any tourists ,if we become patients.
We are going to start a group to hold lessons with nurses. This is very much in its infancy as yet.
Don’t worry if you don’t have teaching experience; a lot of the work will be at conversational level.
So far an experienced bi-lingual English teacher and a Greek friend have offered to find out what exactly is needed regarding time and duration of lessons, level of English etc.etc.
We already have some people volunteering to help with the lessons when these details have been finalised but of course we shall need more.

If you want to find out more you can contact Kath Walls, 6949419571, or write to and we’ll try to find answers to your queries.

Course for health volunteers at Rethymno Hospital

Course for health volunteers at Rethymno Hospital

This article in advertises a course for health volunteers at Rethymno Hospital.

Anyone interested should ask at the Hospital, as yet we have not got any information as to the requirements for the course, the end result and whether it is only open to Greek citizens or anyone.

We shall endeavour to find out all these things and, of course, be very happy for any information sent in by readers / subscribers. It sounds like a vital step forward to health care here.

Website for the only physiotherapy rehabilitation clinic on Crete.

The website is in Greek so you need to translate via your browser but there is a video onsite showing the facilities.

Cancer Support Crete

Cancer Support Crete

Wondering how to cope with cancer or bereavement and how to find your way through the system in Greece?

Cancer Support Crete is a support group for people who have been through or who are undergoing treatment for cancer in Western Crete.

It is also for the friends and relatives of those who are having treatment for cancer and for those who have lost someone to cancer.

Currently English speaking although we have links with Greek speaking groups and organisations.

What We Offer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, with over 40,000 new cases diagnosed every year. Prostate cancer usually develops slowly, so there may be no signs you have it for many years.

Here on Crete it is easy to have PSA levels checked as part of routine blood tests but it’s important to realise that a high result is by no means an indicator for Prostate Cancer. There are also several symptoms which may be apparent ………………

Skin cancer info

Skin cancer info

Don’t delay getting advice if you notice any changes in parts of your skin.

Self-check for Breast cancer – the fun way!

Gives a humorous twist to the TLC – Touch, Look, Check – that all ladies should do regularly to help detect first signs of possible breast cancer



This link is to an information site for expats living in Athens but, of course, much of the information is pertinent to all of Greece.

In particular…………

and ………

Introductory article for local newsletters

We are a small group of friends in the Rethymno area who are very much aware of needs of (particularly) foreigners living here.
This might be people living alone who either need driving help or overnight help in hospital.
It might be anyone needing a Greek speaker to attend a meeting (not general translation)
It might be someone needing knowledge of different facilities/organisations in Rethymno or nearby area.
It might be someone who’d like to hear about others’ experiences with a certain facility/organisation or a particular situation.

Firstly, of course, we need the volunteers to help!

We need people who are willing to offer services to others in important and sometimes distressing situations.
If you’d like to volunteer, the basic information we’d need is……..
> What are you offering to do – driving / staying overnight with someone in hospital / visiting them at home or doing their shopping while they are ill or convalescent / conversing in Greek on their behalf / helping someone discover the best answer to their situation; ie searching online or going with someone to various departments or offices / what areas are you willing to travel to ??
> Also we’d like to know if you’ve specialist knowledge or experience…………..
Do you have any previous nursing,caring or other useful experience and in what fields / what languages do you speak ??
> Generally speaking could you react fairly quickly to a request given that some may be urgent or would you prefer more planned help ??

Please send your offers of help to us at
All information will be kept strictly in confidence between the small number of people running this group.
Any requests for help will be sent to suitable volunteers for them to decide if this is a situation they can help with and they then choose to contact the person.
The person requesting help will not be given details of the volunteers by us.

If you’ve had an experience that you think others might learn from please do post on our blog at
(Please note – this is only for that kind of use – it’s not meant as a social chat blog!)
When you post please choose a category for your post – you may have to choose a new one – then anyone looking at the blog for help can click on all posts in a relevant category.

Something I learned was that however well you think you know your neighbours here, what do you really know about each other?
A friend of mine contacted a virus and went into a coma. Her neighbours found her address book but there was no indication of who to contact in emergency and they didn’t know her surname to discover who might be family. Fortunately I did, so eventually family was contacted. That little group of neighbours have now passed personal information of themselves to others just in case.
So this maybe something to think about…………
Give a friend a spare door key and let other friends know who has it.
Make a list of important information and put it somewhere very visible – on the fridge? on your message board near your computer?
Include – friends on Crete who can help, family, next of kin, where is your will, where is your IKA book, etc. Also if you have a bank account here let someone know where the book and card are and – someone else(!) – your pin number.
Are you registered with your local Consul ? It’s so easy to move house (and probably landline number) and forget to let all your family know. By the way, the UK Foreign Office no longer operate the Locate system.

If you live alone maybe get a ‘hospital’ bag ready with enough personal items for a short stay (for example – (Rethymno hospital shop used to sell soap and toothpaste but not deodorant !) plus your IKA book (or other insurance documents). I learned that if a person is ill the last thing they want is either to pack a bag themselves or have to ask someone to go to their house later and pack underwear etc.for them!
Many thanks for taking time to read this and hopefully we’ll soon have a database set up of willing volunteers.

Many thanks