Posts Tagged ‘disability’

A Letter To Wee Ashley…

Written by on September 5th, 2017 – 4 Comments

About a year ago this photo was shared with me through social media from way back when.  I thought nothing of it other than how cute we were, we had our Easter baskets, we were playing with the crayons and side-walk chalk etc.,  that the Easter Bunny left us.  When I was a kid, we didn’t get cell phones and battery-powered vehicles like kids do now.  A few months back, the photo resurfaced and this time, I wasn’t thinking how cute we were, this time I was thinking “I want to go back to that time where my only worry was what the Easter Bunny left me, or in my case, what the hell my mom was going to do to my hair that day, Jesus! Own a brush?! lol.  I sat and stared at the picture for several minutes, I’m not even sure I was thinking anything, more in a daze, looking at that big genuine smile. (more…)

The Little Reminders

Written by on December 17th, 2013 – No Comments

I am very open about having multiple sclerosis and about living with a personal disability. During the campus tours I do through my job, I openly talk about being registered as a student with disability through my school’s disability office. When travelling, I have no qualms with talking about the set of needles I have to take with me.

But I’ve been pretty lucky.

Yeah, I’ve had some big relapses—vertigo, loss of appetite, nausea, numbness, weakened vision… the whole nine yards—but for the year and a half since I’ve been diagnosed, there’s only been two weeks where I’ve really had to face my multiple sclerosis head on. The majority of time, I’m a perfectly able person with disability.

There have been some carryovers from my relapses: my balance is a little off, and I notice more of a stutter especially as I get more tired. But besides that, nothing.

I have daily shots I have to take, which can cause a big struggle. The days when I have no symptoms, those shots serve as a reminder that I am living with this. Which is really hard. It’s a reminder of all the uncertainties I live with.

What if today is the day I have another relapse? What if in between my meetings that day, I lose my sense of balance? What if halfway through class, my hand goes numb and I can’t write any notes?

A couple weeks ago, I gave myself my morning shot, and for the first time since I started taking this medication—about a year now—I experienced shortness of breath and anxiety. I’ve read that these are common side effects, but for me, the medicine hasn’t caused any side effects for me besides soreness at the injection shots.

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Skiing Is Believing: Redefining What’s Possible

Written by on April 23rd, 2013 – No Comments

On Saturday, March 16th, 2013, I spent the entire day at Whistler Olympic Park, which was home to the Olympic and Paralympic Cross Country Skiing and Biathalon events. My friend Andrea asked me to come and be the photographer for the Skiing is Believing program and I jumped at the chance. I adore Whistler and I was more than happy to support the important work she and Paralympian Courtney Knight are doing.

The Skiing Is Believing program introduces people with disability to cross country skiing. Paralympians, their coaches and team of dedicated volunteers teach people with a variety of physical and sensory disabilities, (wheelchair users, amputees, people who are blind or visually impaired, people with cerebral palsy, etc.) as well as their friends and family to ski.

 

Here’s a peek at the program in action. That was Andrea talking about the program!

 
I spent the morning capturing various aspects of the program. It was a bit of a challenge because the weather was absolutely not cooperating-we had a combination of rain, rain mixed with slushy snow and then outright snow. I’d planned ahead though and brought an umbrella, as well as a Ziploc bag, some duct tape and scissors so I could McGyver a way to keep my camera dry. It was a good thing I did because by the end of the day, pretty much everything I owned was soaked. It pays to be prepared!
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So the journey begins… my relationship with Multiple Sclerosis

Written by on March 5th, 2013 – 10 Comments

I always knew that one day I would take care of my parents.  I knew I was part of the ‘sandwich generation’ > folks who would, at some point, take care of both their own children and their parents at the same time.  My mom turned 50 last week… I thought ‘one day’ was 10-15 years away.

The stroke that wasn’t a stroke (not even a TIA) followed by partial paralysis that lasted months;  the loss of function in her hand that eventually came back, months later.  The July morning 2 years ago when she woke up and couldn’t walk.  Except for a brief respite last summer, she hasn’t walked since.

Finally, what we never hoped for

After years of life-changing symptoms… we finally have a diagnosis:  My mother – my beautiful, young, vibrant mother – has Multiple Sclerosis.  She’s never going to walk again.  She’s never going to chase after butterflies with my girls again.  My two youngest will never remember my mom without a walker or a cane.  My oldest asks why her grandma can’t push her on the swings anymore.

I’m angry.  Angry at the doctors that never put 2 & 2 together.  Angry at the genetic makeup that made her susceptible to develop MS.  Angry that she can’t be there for me the way I need her. (more…)

The Paralympics: A Personal Legacy

Written by on November 20th, 2012 – No Comments

 

Carrying the Paralympic Torch in Vancouver, BC

Back in the summer just before the London 2012 Paralympics kicked off, my friend Andrea Bundon, who has competed in the Paralympics as a guide for a visually impaired skier and has a blog about disability sport Athletes First as part of her graduate student research project at UBC asked me to write an article for her about how my experience with the Paralympics in 2010 affected my life. I was only too happy to do it-I’ve learned so much about disability and sport through the thought-provoking posts and discussions that happen on her blog.

Here’s what I had to say:

I have been a diehard fan of the Olympics for years. The first time I became aware that there was another elite sporting event happening in the world called the Paralympics was during the Sydney Olympics in 2000. I was intrigued, but unfortunately, the Paralympics hardly merited a mention on the evening news. From that point on, I always wondered what went on there and if it was anything like the Olympics. Did they have Opening and Closing ceremonies? How many countries participated? What sports programs were there for people with disabilities and which ones would be included in Paralympic competition? And most importantly, who were these people and what were their stories? The best part about living in the host city of the 2010 Games was that I was finally be able to unravel the mystery.

 I was lucky enough to be given tickets to attend the Opening Ceremonies which turned out to be the highlight of the Paralympics for me. When I arrived at the stadium, the crowd of spectators was still riding the high of a fantastic Olympic Games and after a two week break, ready to show their national pride once again.

 What happened in that building that night was unforgettable. From the moment the very first team marched and rolled onto the field of play for the Parade of Athletes, a roar went up and everyone was on their feet clapping, cheering and waving their pompoms. This incredible level of enthusiasm was sustained until the very last team had made its way onto the field. It did not matter what country the athletes were from. From the second we welcomed them into the stadium, they were ours, each and every one of them. The outpouring of acceptance and goodwill that I witnessed moved me deeply.

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