Lelainia in TOI’m a mixed media artist & writer, as well as a wife and mum to a grown son. I was born and raised in Manitoba, but moved to the west coast in my late teens. I live just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia and while I will always consider myself to be a dyed-in-the-wool prairie girl, there’s no place else I’d rather live than right here.

Most days I can be found in my studio, working on a stack of current projects, with the music cranked up so I can I get into my creative groove. When I do come up for air, I’m usually outdoors with my husband and our beloved 7 year old black Lab, Indiana Jones (Indy), hiking the wilds or beachcombing for small treasures. The natural beauty of this province feeds my spirit and I’m always up for an adventure.

I was diagnosed with MS in March 2008, after going through the entire diagnostic process twice. (Everything, but the spinal tap-once was more than enough!) Like anyone with MS, I had my share of challenges and treatments. My immune system was very resistant and despite my best efforts, I was unable to get into remission. In late November 2012, I underwent some additional testing and after a consult with a specialist, discovered I had a rare disease called Neuromyelitis Optica, (NMO) the symptoms of which closely resemble MS. (This explains why the MS medications weren’t working for me.)

Even though I now know I do not have MS, I feel really honored to have the opportunity to be here to share how I am living (and thriving!) with an allied demyelinating disease.

My philosophy about life can pretty much be summed up this way:

“Ring the bell that still can ring, forget your perfect offering. There’s a crack that shows in everything-that’s how the light gets in.”    -Leonard Cohen

 I look forward to connecting with you and hearing about your experiences too-I believe everyone’s story matters.

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