Archive for September, 2013

Fine Line

Written by on September 24th, 2013 – 5 Comments

There is a fine line between concern and constant worrying about a person with MS. I understand the feeling of helplessness that comes along with being an MS caretaker or spouse. I have a parent with a chronic illness and I have seen the toll it can take on family as well as a spouse. Believe me when I say I get it. I understand the need to want to help. I get the need to be useful and the desire to not stand idle while an illness ravages a loved one. Also believe me when I tell you that a person with a chronic illness or disease never forgets the fact they have one. It might not be in their every thought or action, but they always know. It’s in the back of their head. It’s a nagging thought in the middle of the day, night, week or year. A constant reminder, however noble intentioned, is not required. (more…)

Happy new (school) year!

Written by on September 17th, 2013 – 4 Comments


Happy New Year!

Well, I’m a teacher, and so summer always marks the end of a year, with a new one beginning just after Labour Day in September. It really makes no sense to me why the year starts in January.  It seems so arbitrary.  I often confuse people (mainly doctors) by referring to years as school years!

For me this past one was quite the (school) year!  Due to a very severe series of relapses that would not really remit, I had to cut my teaching year short.  I teach internationally and so also had to come home to Canada in February.  At the time I came home I had no job and no prospects but also I was sick enough that some time off and time to recuperate was warranted.   I’ve rested since February and certainly done my fair share of pondering the potentials for the future.

Teaching places large demands on my time and energy.  It certainly isn’t a 9-3 job with a couple months of free time in the summer!  Because my relapses have been escalating the last few years and my disability can at times be very severe I was finding teaching very demanding physically and too tiring.  I thought for quite a while that maybe last year had been my last year teaching.  For a long time I didn’t really believe I could continue.  In the end I got exactly that far.  If you ask the next question “What would you do besides teach?” I always get stuck!  I didn’t know, and I still don’t know.  There really isn’t anything else I’d want to do, and I’m certainly not ready to throw in the towel and go on disability.  MS won’t win for me that easily!

The conclusion that there is nothing else I’d want to be doing is what had ultimately led me to the decision to give teaching another try.


NMO Information Day 2013

Written by on September 10th, 2013 – No Comments

Hello Everyone! I hope you’ve been enjoying your summer!

I wanted to share with you that the UBC NMO Clinic & Research Program will be hosting a FREE public information day about Neuromyelitis Optica on Thursday, Oct 17, 2013 from 9 am-2:30 pm. The event will be held at VIFF’s Vancity Theatre, which is located at 1181 Seymour St., Vancouver, BC. Lunch will be provided. If you’re interested in attending, please register here.

Last year’s event was the first time many local NMO patients had a chance to meet others living with this rare disease. It was also a valuable opportunity for those who had been or were in the process of being tested for NMO to gain important information. If you are in the Metro Vancouver area and have questions about NMO, I strongly encourage you to come. Attending last year armed me with enough information that I was able to advocate for a consult with an NMO specialist which ultimately led to finally getting a proper diagnoses. Knowledge is power!

I also wanted to share that I will be one of the guest speakers at this year’s NMO Information Day. I’ll be presenting about my experience with the UBC Interprofessional Health Mentors Program. If you attend, please be sure to come find me and say hello!


The Online MS Community and #CyberCompassion

Written by on September 3rd, 2013 – No Comments

Today is #CyberCompassion day! It’s no secret that in today’s day and age, social media and the internet are a central focus for many people, including youth like myself. As I described in my first post, I’m ALWAYS connected to social media, mostly Twitter! I love the way I can be connected to my favourite celebrities (i.e. the entire cast of Glee, the entire The Chew panel and maybe even a few Kardashians…), but also I think it’s changed the way we receive news from all over the world. The second something happens in the world, a tweet can be sent out and millions of people will know instantly. (more…)