Archive for December, 2012

Why My Story Matters

Written by on December 18th, 2012 – 2 Comments

In early October, I went to the Blusson Centre, a beautiful new medical building in Vancouver that houses the UBC spinal cord injury research centre for the orientation for the UBC Interprofessional Health Mentors Program.

Way back in the spring, I went for an interview for the program and not long after that I got an email saying I’d been accepted. The way this program works is that future health care practitioners are matched with a Health Mentor who has a chronic illness and/or disability. The program offers students the opportunity for patient-centered learning through working with their mentor for a period of 16 months. This program has been accredited as part of their formal education and includes students from the medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, dietetics and speech and language pathology & audiology.

At the orientation, I finally got to meet the students I will be working with from now until January 2014. I have four lovely young women assigned to me. My students are studying medicine, nursing, dentistry and occupational therapy. In the current program, they’ve matched 200 students with 50 mentors. That’s amazing! My students and I had our first formal session in mid-October and I instantly felt a very positive vibe about how our group was going to mesh. I believe learning is a shared experience and I think this is going to be a great one for all of us.


All That Glitters…

Written by on December 11th, 2012 – 2 Comments

The holidays are upon us. Shops are decorated, playing Christmas music and glittering with lights. There are crowds, carollers and an excitement brimming just under the surface. This season is bittersweet for me. I absolutely love the holidays and all the family traditions that are carried out. However, it was during this season that my world was turned upside down. If you have been following my blogs you know that I had my first MRI on December 22, 2006 three days before Christmas. I was then officially diagnosed with MS on December 29th.

I was on crutches that Christmas; I had been on crutches for months. Christmas shopping in a crowded mall on crutches was daunting, tiring and frustrating task. My friend was helping me shop one night when a teenaged boy kicked my crutch out from under me and proceeded to laugh as I inevitably fell.  As I picked myself up I was mortified, but unhurt. I think my pride was wounded most. I couldn’t fathom why another human being would intentionally set out to harm someone. I had always felt that holidays were meant to bring people together and this belief was in danger of being cast aside. (more…)


Written by on December 4th, 2012 – 1 Comment

The best time of the year is coming – CHRISTMAS!!!! As great as Christmas is, does anyone else struggle with Christmas?  I absolutely love the holiday and being around family but I find it VERY hard to remind myself that I need rest … I feel disgusting if I drink … I feel disgusting if I eat too many snacks and that I HAVE TO stay on my routine. 

 I get so caught up in the holiday cheer that I forget that I have MS (which is a great thing I’m able to do that), but I run myself down. 

 This year my Christmas will be tied with mixed emotions! I’ll be happy to remember my engagement last Christmas, but am quickly reminded of spending a lot of days in the hospital last Christmas as well. 

 However, I have come up with a few tips to help me keep myself balanced:

  • Always have nuts handy so that I don’t snack on all the chips and cookies around me
  • Always carry a bottle of water around with me to avoid drinking wine or anything else that will make me feel gross the next day and set me back
  • Suggest to others to take a “post-meal” walk so I don’t start feeling sluggish
  • Take some “time-out” from family and book a massage for myself over the break. It’s going to be a nice way to just wind down and enjoy some peace and quiet. 
  • Suggest to family or friends that you take turns cooking meals (I find my diet suffers the most over ANY holiday)
  • Be the one to host the Christmas party this year, that way you have a bit of control over what is being served to eat or drink
  • Volunteer to make the snacks (granola, etc)

 The hussle and bussle of Christmas can be very overwhelming … and exhausting … it’s important for each of us (healthy or not) to keep our body in a routine of some sort, but still manage to enjoy the season!!!

 How will YOU keep yourself in a routine?