Posts Tagged ‘MS’

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 More You Know…

Written by on June 20th, 2017 – 18 Comments

As I approach the mark of my 1-year anniversary diagnosis date, I can’t help but reflect back on the emotional rollercoaster I experienced when I was first diagnosed. Anyone who has been diagnosed with MS, you understand the feeling of defeat.  You probably thought, or are still thinking, your future was taken, maybe you’re planning your new future, as I was.  I would sit and think what my life would look like years from now.  Would I have kids? Would I be alone or married? Will a friend take me in if my parents are gone? Will I live with my brother? All of these thoughts would run through my head because of what I knew about MS (which wasn’t much). I constantly asked myself.. and at times still do, “Why was I diagnosed with something that has no game plan?  Something that has no answers? Something that even medication may or may not be able to control, something that I can’t control.  I thought all of this; I cried about all of this, I knew MS to be debilitating and that it was only a matter of time.  You don’t hear about MS like you do other diseases, a lot of people are uneducated, including doctors, because it’s such a complicated disease when you’re dealing with patients who are all completely different.   I couldn’t continue with these thoughts, periodically fine, but not every day.  I needed to take control, look this monster in the eyes and say “HOW YA’ LIKE ME NOW, MS!!” (more…)

Forget Me Not As I Remember Always

Written by on May 4th, 2017 – 12 Comments

As individuals in this crazy life we live, it’s very easy for us to forget something that we’re not faced with every day, to forget something that we can’t physically see or to forget something we’re not always talking about.  It’s not our fault, we’re not selfish people,  we just have so much going on in our own lives that if something isn’t always in our face, we forget.  Remember that saying,  “You have to see it to believe it”?  Well unfortunately, any illness that involves suffering on the inside, falls under the “you have to see it to believe it” category.  This blog speaks to those with MS, to those with a mental illness (which is also quite common to develop in cases of MS) and really to anyone whose pain and struggle at times goes unnoticed or forgotten.   Lets be clear and I know my fellow fighters will agree, what you are about to read is not a complaint, a pity party nor am I throwing down the victim card for myself or anyone else.  I am touching on the very real struggle (hashtag the struggle is real lol….  I had to spell it out or it wouldn’t have the same effect) of being forgotten about.  Alright, lets break it down! Hammer time….

(more…)

The Heart of It – One Day Young Adult Conference in Winnipeg on June 11

Written by on April 26th, 2017 – No Comments

Calling young people in or near Winnipeg!

The Heart of It is a one-day event specifically for young adults in their 20s and 30s who are living with MS or are close to someone with MS. It is a day for personal growth, connecting, sharing, learning and having fun! This is an opportunity to build skills and knowledge and enjoy new experiences. You can see the program at https://mssociety.ca/library/image/vZ0fLRoq4wGl6XKktB5rNyMUsx71YQEW/large.jpg

You can register online at http://mssoc.convio.net/site/Calendar?id=103286&view=Detail. Register by June 6!

Run Forrest Run!

Written by on April 17th, 2017 – 1 Comment

I precisely remember the moment I started my life long love affair with running. It was a month after the MS bombshell had been dropped and I was doing what every self-respecting hypochondriac does i.e. incessantly searching the web for more information about this disease. My only exposure to MS in the “before days” was anecdotal information I knew about two celebrities: Richard Pryor and Montel Williams. Two polar opposite stories that gave me no further clarity about what the heck the future had in store for me (editorial note: avoid commencing your Google search with Richard Pryor. That set me back two weeks). So, I read blog after blog. Some stories lifted my spirits and others sent my spirits crashing down.

(more…)

What the GUT?!

Written by on April 10th, 2017 – 11 Comments

See what I did there…hilarious.  There is SO much I want to share when it comes to food and using food to heal your body.  I was so incredibly uneducated as to what I was putting in my body and the negative effects it was/could have been causing. This photo is from 2012, in Korea, 4 years before diagnosis.

I don’t know why, out of the thousands of articles available online about MS, one of the first articles I came across was written by Dr. Terry Wahls, a Dr. who practiced and firmly believed in Western medicine, the same medicine that was failing her and her condition.  It took only 3 years from the time of diagnosis of RRMS to SPMS.  I won’t go into too much detail as I will provide the link below.  As Dr. Wahls’ health continued to decline, she turned to Traditional medicine.  Specifically, food.

Before I dive into my chat about food, I want to clarify again, this information is from medical journals, my health care team and testimonies I came across during those hours I would kick back on the couch with a cup a’ joe and read about MS.  What’s most important to remember is that every single one of us is different and that the disease affects us differently which is why there are so many unanswered questions.  The human body is estimated to house 95-100 billion nerves and not one of us has the exact same nerves affected nor will we experience symptoms the same way.  It all boils down to what nerves are damaged and how that nerve decides to affect our body and to what extent.  I fully stand behind getting a food sensitivity test so you know what your own body can and cannot digest properly, foods that may cause inflammation etc.  What one person should remove from their diet isn’t necessarily beneficial for you too.  A food sensitivity test can be done by a Naturopath and if possible, I encourage you to add one to your health care team.

So, what the Gut?…

(more…)

The Grey Zone

Written by on April 4th, 2017 – 8 Comments

 

In the summer of 2014, I was a lawyer, wife and Mom to a beautiful 4 year old girl and adorable newborn son. Life was seemingly perfect…although, I was way too caught up in the details of life to appreciate it back then.

During my parental leave, I agreed to return to work to deal with an intensely stressful situation that lasted much longer than anticipated. ‎When I re-commenced my parental leave, I got sick multiple times. When I say sick, I mean big, ugly flu bugs. One after another. In fact, five times in a month. That’s when the numbness started. It culminated one night in September, when I woke up to discover the right side of my body stopped working. It was two in the morning and I certainly didn’t want to inconvenience anyone, so I hopped into my car and somehow drove myself to the hospital. My mind was racing. Was I having a stroke? Was it cancer? Was it ALS? According to Doctor Google, it was all of the above and possibly rabies.

(more…)

Visiting the Neuro-Opthomologist

Written by on October 21st, 2014 – No Comments

eyeMany of us living with Multiple Sclerosis and Neuromyelitis Optic (NMO) are likely to experience optic neuritis at some point, making it necessary for us to see a neuro-opthomologist. I thought I would take this opportunity to share what happens during a neuro-opthomology appointment.

Ophthalmology is the branch of medicine that focuses on the anatomy, physiology and diseases of the eye. Most people with visual issues see an opthomologist on a yearly basis. Generally speaking, an opthomologist is an expert in medical and surgical eye problems and will perform standard tests to evaluate the health of your eyes and if needed, prescribe glasses or contact lenses to correct your vision.

Neuro-ophthalmology is the sub-specialty of both neurology and ophthalmology focusing on visual problems that are related to the nervous system, so those of us living with MS or NMO are usually referred to a neuro-opthomologist through our clinic when we develop optic neuritis. A neuro-opthomologist’s skill set is very specific and they have a number of specialized tests allowing them to recognize even subtle changes to the optic nerve so they are better able to diagnose optic neuritis and other neurological conditions that can affect vision.

(more…)

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.”

(more…)

Hello, 2014!

Written by on January 3rd, 2014 – 11 Comments

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

I hope you’ve all had a great holiday season and that the new year brings with it a fresh start; just remember, go easy on those resolutions!  😉

As a new blogger to this site, I thought I would take a minute or two to introduce myself.  I’m Ashley, a flower-loving, 30-year-old living in Port Credit Ontario.  I was introduced to our complex MS-world this year, having experienced my first ‘flare-up’, Optic Neuritis in my left eye in late April.  It greeted me just two weeks after I defended my thesis, and took my vision in a matter of days.

Here’s how it happened:

Monday: Headache and a dull pain behind my left eye, L-shaped floater formed by the evening.  It was in my central vision field but I did not find it alarming, I figured I was just tired and stressed from school/work.

Tuesday: L-shaped floater spread to my entire eye, it looked like I was looking through a very dirty window.  No matter how hard I tried or blinked, I could not see clearly and it became excruciatingly painful to move my eye in any direction.

Wednesday: I made an appointment with my optometrist and was lucky enough to get in to see her the next day.  She discovered/showed me the optic neuritis, and after reviewing my family history, she recommended I see my family doctor ASAP to be tested for MS.

(more…)