Monday, 29 May 2017

Thank you!

The 2017 MS Walk was a great success!  A beautiful day for an important cause.

Team Making Lemonade's 5 year fundraising total is over $26,000!

To everyone who supports me or the MS Society - thank you!

And to my team - seeing your smiling faces each year means more than you know.  Thank you for your continued presence and for being my foundation.  You help bring a lot of hope into my life.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

On Mother's Day

There are a million thoughts swirling through my head.

It's my first without my Mom.

It is surreal.  Ugly.  That sick-to-my-stomach feeling.

The build-up to this day.  The cards and gifts in the stores have been a cruel reminder of the pain of the last 6 months.

Right in my face, and so unavoidable.

I never imagined losing my Mom while in my 30's.  While still looking for, and needing, that guidance and reassurance in raising my own young kids.

Missing that support and friendship only a Mother can give.

Today I choose to celebrate the Mom that she was.  How she raised her daughters with many important values.  And how lucky we were to have her.

I hope to pass to my kids the things she taught me.  To show them strength and perseverance and unconditional love. To show them the beauty of life.

This incredible woman taught me how to be a Mom.  That is a gift I hold very dearly.

I miss you so much, Mom.  But even with the tears, today I celebrate you.

Friday, 17 February 2017

2017 MS Walk

As I've admitted to some, I wasn't sure about this year's walk.

Not because I didn't want to walk, or fundraise, or continue with my role with the MS Society.  But because it's been the hardest 6 months of my life.  Because there has been so much sadness.  So much grief.  And so much anger.

But I've come to realize there is still a lot of hope.

A lot of hope for so many things.

For cancer.  Which will now forever be held differently in my heart.  And also for MS.  A cause I am still very committed to fight for.

So I'm slowly dusting off my yellow and getting ready for another year of fundraising, awareness, and fun.

Our team is walking for the fifth year (which I think is pretty awesome) and we have raised more than $22,000!  I am so proud of team Making Lemonade!

Click here to see my personal fundraising page.

If you want to join the team and walk with us, or make a donation, you can do both online.

And thank you to the early donors.  You guys are awesome!

Saturday, 29 October 2016

A goodbye

You can shed tears that she is gone,
or you can smile because she has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that she will come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all that she has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see her, 
or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday, 
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember her and only that she is gone, 
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back, 
or you can do what she'd want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

 - David Harkins


I never imagined I'd be writing this post. About losing my Mom. About the fast descent into illness that took her life far too soon.

I was a part of her; and she of me. And my heart will forever be missing a piece.

A week ago, my Mom left this earth. And with her, the image of the rest of my life.

This will be a profound change. And one that cannot easily be put into words.

But despite the many tears we have now, I know she will always be with us.

We can still cherish her, love her, and go on.


Sunday, 21 August 2016

Four years

I wrote these words four years ago...

I saw the lesions on the MRI before the doctor could start pointing them out, and I knew exactly what it meant.  MS.  Multiple Sclerosis.  

Life is surreal sometimes.  For just a moment - just that one moment - you are allowed to leave your body, try and take it all in - take a deep breath - and then return.

When you see your brain, amplified by light and imaged into sections, you turn sort of numb.  "It's not really my brain," you think.  But alas, it is.  And there they are - those little bean-shaped lesions.  Waiting to kick into full-MS-mode.

So now, the journey begins.  And I have no choice but to fight it.

Sitting there that day, alone in the doctor's office, I never could have imagined what MS would teach me. But my, has it taught me so much.  I can listen to my body, understand what it needs me to do.  I understand that I can be strong, that I am a fighter.  That this will not define me.  I have learned to care more about humanity and understand humility. I better accept mortality and the fragility of life.

I understand the importance of surrounding yourself with those who make you happy, who lift you up, who support you and care for you.

Four years in, and yes, it still terrifies me.  There are still days when I wonder how the universe decided to throw this at me.  But I am also so proud of the outreach and volunteer work I have done, my efforts into fundraising and awareness.  I am so happy I became part of the amazing MS community that is out there.

I mark this day, my MS-iversary, every year, not for pity or sorrow.  But as a pat-on-the-back to myself.  A reminder, especially when life gets hard, that I can do this.  I can live life.  I can overcome obstacles.  And I will be okay.

Friday, 24 June 2016

MRI update

I had a visit with my Neurologist and got the results of my yearly MRI.

And for the first time in years, my MS is not stable.

There is a new hyperintense lesion in my right frontal lobe.

Yes, I've had relapses and reactivation of old symptoms, and do have daily symptoms of living with MS.  But this is the first time there has been a change in my imaging.  (It takes a lot for some disease activity to show up on the 1.5 Tesla MRI machine.  For example - each and every relapse I've had since diagnosis hasn't changed my imaging.  Not even when I lost my vision).

The quick neurological exam was pretty much the same.  I still have residual decreased vision from the optic neuritis in my right eye four years ago, with mild red colour desaturation, and mild optic nerve atrophy in both eyes.  I have difficulty performing the tandem walking test and display abnormal reflexes.  My EDSS (Expanded Disability Status Scale) is up a bit, but I'm not going to share the number.

Despite my Neurologist's best promises of the fact that I still have a "good looking brain," meaning, this could be a lot, lot worse (and I am well aware of that), it's hard not to take this news positively.

Unfortunately, that's the nature of the MS-beast.

But, we move forward.  We must.

And I will.

The plan, for somewhere along the road, when life is a little simpler (hmmm...) is immunotherapy. The thought of that still scares me, but at least I have my extended health approval for one medication and the option of a few clinical trials coming up in the next while, just in case I can ever make a decision.  Ha.

Meanwhile, I am still so, so thankful for my health care team, the research happening every day, and this place, where I go to receive all my care.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Thank you!

To everyone who supports the MS Walk each year- thank you!

And to the MS Society - keep on doing what you're doing.  You give me a lot of hope for my future.

Huge thanks from team Making Lemonade!