Archive for March, 2014

I Forgot About MS

Written by on March 25th, 2014 – 4 Comments

I never thought I could, but I actually did forget, for a few days, that I’m living with a chronic illness. I just got back from a two-week vacation in Tampa, Florida. Considering that Edmonton has been -25C and colder for the last few weeks, it was sure a nice break!

I’ve been struggling with my MS for the past 2 years, having relapse after relapse, trying one drug after the next, and nothing was able to get my MS under control. This past October, I decided to try a second-line treatment, because clearly none of the first-line treatments were doing anything for me. I started on Gilenya in October 2013, and what a difference it has made! I’m now going on 4 months relapse-free (previously, I was in the hospital getting steroids every 2 months – sometimes less than 2 months). All of the on-going symptoms that I have had for 2 years (balance, numbness, tingling, etc.) are fading away. I feel stronger every day. I stopped using my cane months ago, and now I can actually go for long walks, just like I used to before MS came along. I’m actually quite amazed!

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What’s helped me through my pregnancy … if you’re thinking about getting pregnant! A few tips … take em or leave em.

Written by on March 18th, 2014 – 2 Comments

Almost done my pregnancy and to my surprise, I was faced with something I didn’t think would be an issue; procedures done in the delivery room.

About a week ago, my OB referred me to see an anesthesiologist here in Saskatoon. I thought this was regular protocol, after discussing with other pregnant women – this is not protocol.  However, I was happy to meet him.

I have thought long and hard about what I always felt was missing from Family Conferences or Blogs, etc. – it was someone who had MS prior to pregnancy. I wanted to know if pregnancy was an option, what my drug options were, my rate of relapse, EVERYTHING! I had no one to ask … so I reach out to anyone thinking about getting pregnant, feel free to message me … I wish I would have had someone who understood my questions and concerns.

Please keep in mind everyone has a different pregnancy, these 7 tips just helped me …

Tip #1: Meet with your OB and don’t hide your health history … they WANT to help you!

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My First MS Clinic!

Written by on March 11th, 2014 – 3 Comments

Hi Everyone!

You may notice the name change from ‘TheFloweryOne’!

A couple weeks ago I visited my first MS clinic!  I was referred by my GP during the ‘limbo – land’ stage to get a second opinion and to gather some general information for myself.  At first, I was really nervous; the thought of seeing another doctor really put me off, but in an effort to get ahead of my thoughts and to centre myself I consulted my resources, you guys!  I posted about my upcoming visit and asked for advice on what to expect.  As always, in a matter of hours, I had stories, comments and words of wisdom that not only settled my nerves but also made me look forward to it; I’m so grateful.

St Michael’s, located right smack dab in the middle of downtown Toronto is a beautiful (and very old) hospital.  Its MS Clinic is one of the largest of its kind in North America and is affiliated with our amazing MS Society.   While it mainly focuses on diagnosis and treatment of the disease, the clinic also participates in research and clinical trials; everyday they’re a step closer to a cure!  When I first got to the hospital I had some trouble navigating my way around, the dimly lit halls made it tricky but added nicely to the eerie-ness of the building’s history.  Located on the third floor of the Shuter Wing, the clinic itself was very welcoming and was packed floor to ceiling with pamphlets of information posters about symptom management and flyers with invites to local support groups.

As a very organized and punctual person, I checked in early.  Since it was my first visit, I wanted to get ahead of any paperwork they needed me to complete.  Fortunately, confirming the information they already had on file was all that was needed, so I took a seat and watched the Olympics.  As I sat in the waiting room, I was reminded of my journey over this past year.  In the corner sat a girl taking an IV of steroids and a few seats over a girl checking her eyesight using the posters on the wall; two things I did during my first flare-up.

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Finding Humour In MS: Reflections On “Carry A Big Stick” by Tim Ferguson

Written by on March 4th, 2014 – 2 Comments

For anybody outside of Australia (including myself), you’ve probably never heard of Tim Ferguson. According to his website, “Tim Ferguson is a widely acclaimed comedian, writer and producer. He’s toured the world performing stand-up and musical comedy, co-writing dozens of live stage comedy shows and light entertainment programmes.”

Most famous for his involvement with the Australian comedy super-troupe, the Doug Anthony All Stars, that went on to experience superstardom in the sketch and musical comedy world. Be forewarned, the songs the Doug Anthony All Stars are famous for are not exactly appropriate for children or the lighthearted.

So why am I writing about this Australian comedy legend? Because recently I read his memoir “Carry A Big Stick – Laughter & MS” and it’s truly opened my eyes.

Truth be told, I didn’t understand half of it, because I’m not Australian so references to Australian geography, stars and pop culture was lost on me. Nonetheless, it was very cool to learn about his journey from a busker on the streets to fame.

However the most interesting part of his book, for me, is where he talks openly and frankly about living with multiple sclerosis.

Tim chronicles his journey from the beginnings where he started to experience symptoms such as numbness, loss of balance, chronic fatigue, etc that he chalked up to overworking himself. “I could barely stand straight. I couldn’t feel the hands I was shaking.”

He takes us through his diagnosis. “It was as if everything had slowed, as though I was watching someone else’s car crash.”

Ferguson walks us through his decision-making process to hide it from certain people, and to come out with to others. My favourite part is where he goes on a long explanation of what multiple sclerosis is complete with comparisons to “a bonkbuddy who gets emotional” and “a Swedish backpacker.”

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