To the Newly Diagnosed…

Written by on July 22nd, 2014 – No Comments

I pose a question to you … WHEN do you like to be reached out to? How often? Do you prefer someone of the same sex? Does age matter? What are your main concerns? It seems like ages ago that I had all these same questions but I was on the other side of the line … I felt like I had no one to talk to.

I am part of a newly diagnosed group, and our volunteer role is to reach out to newly diagnosed individuals.  Often I find myself wondering; am I pushy? Am I neglecting? Am I over bearing? Am I scary? A million questions float through my head.

I often find that the volunteer who has had MS for 10 years now is often as nervous as the newly diagnosed patient.  Will I be good enough? Will I be able to answer all the questions? Will I come off like I am a pro at this? How can I show that I too was once unsure of the future, and that I still get scared when I have a relapse.

So newly diagnosed … what do you prefer when you meet someone who is more experienced with MS? And what do you HATE?

THANKS IN ADVANCE! :)

Pharmacists: Important Allies in Health Care

Written by on July 8th, 2014 – No Comments

pharmacyLike it or not, most, if not all of us with MS or NMO are on daily medication. Understanding how to use that medication properly to get the optimum benefit from it and avoid the risks of drug interactions is important. That’s where your pharmacist can help.

Recently, I switched pharmacies from one I had been using for 23 years to one closer to home. (I stayed with the same company, just chose a different location.) It took me awhile to make this decision because I had a history with my former pharmacy-the staff all knew me by name and the pharmacist understood my extensive drug allergies. I had always received good service from them.

The reason for the change was that the store was located right in the middle of a very large and drawn out construction project (the extension of our sky train line) and getting in and out of the area was becoming more and more difficult. The other issue was that the pharmacy staff were having their hours cut in some misguided attempted by the powers-that-be to save money, which meant I’d often spend upwards of a half an hour standing in line waiting to pick up or drop off my prescriptions. My time is valuable and between the commute and the wait times, it just got to be too onerous. I finally decided to make the switch. (more…)

The Never Ending Battle With MS, My Weight and My Laziness

Written by on June 24th, 2014 – 1 Comment

I bIMG_0051ought a new shirt earlier this month. It says “I’m not lazy – I’m physically conservative.” I tend to be on the lazier side – y’know little things like not wanting to get out of bed to answer a phone, stretching as far off my couch to reach my computer without actually getting up, frequently choosing the escalator over stairs.

But I’ve always been active – when I was younger I was in swimming lessons, and my mom would try to get me involved in basketball and soccer (that didn’t stick.) For 8 years I was enrolled in Karate, and that gave me a chance to exercise and get off my couch. I loved it, and even though it’s taken a back seat to my academics and volunteer work, I 100% intend on returning to it.

And my mom always made sure I was a healthy eater – lots of fresh fruit and veggies, homecooked meals as often as possible, limits on the amount of cookies and pop I could have.

But despite that, I’ve never been the healthiest person. I probably like McDonald’s a little too much, and may have some self control issues when a pizza or chocolate is placed in front of me.

However that all changed when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I realized that I needed to become more aware of my body, my health and really take control of it. This realization was by no means an instant one. I was diagnosed in July 2012, but it wasn’t until May 2013 that I realized how important it was.

Living on campus, and not having my mom looking over my shoulder led to me not being physically active… at all, and making poor choices about my diet. This led to me getting completely out of shape, and gaining a lot of weight.

(more…)

In Case Of Emergency

Written by on June 17th, 2014 – 2 Comments

rootsI recently replaced my Medic Alert bracelet. For those of you who aren’t familiar with what that is, it’s a bracelet with a medallion engraved with my emergency medical information on it. It has a serial number that is unique to me on it as well as a toll free number that can be called by medical personnel (Paramedics, ER Doctors, etc.) 24 hours a day, from anywhere in the world. It gives them instant access to important information, if I am unable to communicate it for myself. (more…)

MRIs and Reports and New Meds… Oh My!!

Written by on June 10th, 2014 – No Comments

Hello darling SLM community!

Before I get into my post, I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the MS-walkers!  I’m so proud of you for taking the time to raise awareness; you’re such amazing people.  I’m inspired by you!

My sincerest apologies for not getting a post out sooner, life has certainly handed me some ups and downs! In my last post I chatted with you about my most recent adventures to the MS Clinic at St. Mike’s hospital and left you with my plans for another MRI and a follow-up at the clinic in October.

Since then, I have completed the MRI, it came back showing two new lesions since the previous scan done in November 2013; the first lesion is 8mm and sits in the front right side, and the second is 6 x 3mm and sits in the back left side. Armed with this information, I attended an appointment with my first neurologist (not the MS clinic) who is of the opinion that the clinic is going to want to ‘upgrade’ my medication since the new lesions appeared within less than 6 months. (more…)

The meaning of NO

Written by on June 3rd, 2014 – No Comments

noIn my journey to figure out life balance with MS and in particular change how I manage life stresses my naturopath suggested I read a book by Gabor Mate: When the body says No, the costs of hidden stress. At the time we were discussing knowing one’s limits and I mentioning that I couldn’t always identify mine in certain situations (like at the gym during exercise) for which I then paid for later with negative results (MS related problems).

The book was extremely insightful to me in many ways as it discussed commonalities of people who had developed autoimmune diseases and cancers. The main commonality was taking on stresses beyond what a physical body could handle and in return not knowing one’s own limits/boundaries for managing stresses. This was my first encounter with reading material that related stress (whether is mental, physical etc) to a mind-body connection. The end outcome was that how we manage stresses impacted one’s physiology and over time could result in disease (if we weren’t managing stress well). (more…)

Swim MS

Written by on May 27th, 2014 – No Comments

(Taryn Lencoe training in the ocean at Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver, BC.)

Like most people, before Multiple Sclerosis touched the life of someone she loved, Taryn Lencoe knew nothing about the disease. All that changed when Taryn’s cousin was diagnosed with MS 10 years ago when she was in her 30’s. After that, Taryn began to meet more and more people with MS and saw how it affected them. She saw the struggles they were going through and she felt she needed do something to help. She began to think about how she could raise awareness and money for research and support services for the BC & Yukon Division of the Canadian MS Society, using her own unique skills. She bounced ideas off her co-workers and together they came up with the idea of a marathon swim. Why a marathon swim you ask? Well, Taryn grew up swimming. In fact, she swam competitively for 14 years with various clubs, including 2 years for the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds and was also a member of the Canadian National Team. (more…)

If You’re Going to San Francisco…

Written by on May 20th, 2014 – 3 Comments

kirstimom MSwalk SanFran (2)What an amazing city. This wasn’t my first time to San Francisco, and it won’t be my last either. It’s such a beautiful, interesting city with all the old Victorian row houses, the cable cars, the bay, the bridges, the piers, and so on. If you have never been to San Francisco, you must go – you won’t be disappointed.

This trip was pretty special. My family was invited to San Francisco for the MS Society’s “Walk of Champions” – a walk for anyone who raised over $10,000 for the MS Walk in their own city. Since my dad raised $13,550 last year in Edmonton’s walk, we got to take this amazing trip. We also extended our stay in San Fran for a few days, so we had time to explore. (more…)

Pills and Needles

Written by on May 13th, 2014 – 13 Comments

I have been giving myself needles for over a decade. I truly believe that taking these needles and changing my lifestyle have attributed to my good health and not letting MS stop me from doing anything I want.

Just recently I was told I could take the new pill that is on the market for RRMS patients. At first I was very intrigued. Of course taking a pill over taking a needle is much better, but it’s a little bit more complicated than that for me. I’ve been going over the pamphlet for the new MS drug and it’s big selling feature is that it’s a pill and not a needle. (more…)

My First MS Walk

Written by on May 6th, 2014 – 2 Comments

On Sunday May 4 2014, I had the incredible opportunity to participate in my first-ever MS Walk at Downsview Park in Toronto. Now while I was diagnosed two years ago, I didn’t get a chance to participate last year – partly due to the fact that I was still trying to come to terms with having multiple sclerosis. I wasn’t really ready to do that.

But this year, I’m feeling a lot better about the whole thing. Having started writing for this blog, being featured in the Spring issue of MS Canada and being more educated by taking my Introduction to Disability Studies course in school, I jumped at the chance to participate! (more…)