Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Year's Eve

Resolutions.  I hate them.  Because I always set myself up to fail.

Stop biting my nails, stop cracking my knuckles.

This year - I just want happiness.  I want to make choices in my life that induce it. Surround myself with the people and things that conjure up a laugh or smile.

I wouldn't label that a resolution, per se, but rather a more conscious way of living.

2013 was my first full year living with my new normal.   Trying to embrace this permanently-revised-version-of-me. 

With full candor, it started with incredible amounts of fear and anxiety.

But, the acceptance I have been (impatiently) searching for - regarding my disease - has finally shown its head.  The process has been emotionally encompassed.  It took about 16 months. 

Much longer than anticipated.  But I am okay with that.

Now, it feels part of me.  Not all of me.

I can inject myself daily, without a second thought, I can deal with symptoms, daily, and move on.  And - the big one for me - I can look at young people with canes, wheelchairs, and scooters without that I-need-to-breathe-into-a-bag hypothetical dread.

Of course, it is still an evolving acceptance.  One that continues to pose many questions and doubts.

But I am so proud of my 2013.  Simply for recognizing and accepting my fate.

Here's to an incredible 2014 for us all!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Holiday riddance!

It's that time.  Chuck out the tree, get rid of the festive-smelling candles.  Find all glitter, and suck it away.  Be gone, holiday-house-vomit.

Holiday time is as exciting as it gets, and this year was a good one (thank you, boys, you make Christmas so fun).

But, I am happy to have my living room back. 

And I am thrilled to report I cooked, hosted (read: survived.  Thank you wine) my first ever solo Christmas dinner.  Lots of family were away this year, so it was small and simple, but I plan to use the but-I-did-Christmas-2013 'til it goes out of style.

For the enquiring minds out there, yes, I got my coveted garlic press!  And some other practical goods:

And there you are...  an I-got-woken-up-at-4:45-am picture of me in my reindeer jammies.  Gum and Tylenol, apparently I use a lot of it?

But better than any gift under the tree or in a stocking, were the smiles of excitement and happiness planted on my boys' faces.  A truly wonderful gift, chaos and all.

I hope you all had a chance to revel in happiness and love.  In whatever form it comes to you.

Monday, 23 December 2013


Ah, Christmastime.  So relaxing, so calm.

Or in this family - a complete frenzy of everything.

And how does my body react?

The brain fog moves in; weakness and dizziness; and I start fainting.  And it happened at the grocery store again. 

I now recognize this feeling so well I know I have about 5 minutes to sit down, eat, and cool off.  I know what my triggers are.  Otherwise it's splat.

So there I sat, down the vitamin aisle (the only place I could find a chair;  I guess vitamins are a very contemplative shopping experience).  I swiped a Kit Kat bar, ate it, then stuck my head between my legs.

It's not a "normal" light-headed spinning feeling.  It's more of a my-brain-has-stopped-working-and-only-communicates-in-semi-conscious-buzzes

I can only focus on one sound or thought or sight at a time.

The strangest (over-) sensation.

But luckily, all the Christmas preparations are done.  Dinner is planned and shopped for, the presents are bought and wrapped.  I can just sit in bed and ride this one out.  Heaven, right?

Friday, 20 December 2013

Dust off your walking shoes...

It's time to join my team for the MS Walk!  Join me on Sunday, April 13, in Vancouver.  It is a beautiful walk around Stanley Park, accessible to all, and I would love to see you and your families there.

We all wear yellow (usually tacky), have signs, banners, balloons, and buttons - it is truly a fun and important day.

Or, if you are feeling generous, please support this most important cause with a donation.

Multiple Sclerosis is a debilitating disease with no cure that affects approximately 100,000 Canadians.  It is a very personal disease that affects no two people the same.  Research is desperately needed to investigate treatment options, and perhaps, one day, a cure.

Team Making Lemonade is back for 2014! 

Click here to join or donate.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Time for some sap

I realize my last post may have been a little bah humbug.  A little too negative.

Because, in all reality, I love this time of year.  And it's not fair to downplay that.  To forget how important Christmas was to me as a kid.  The familial bickering about whether the turkey was cooked.  Is that odd jello salad dinner or dessert?

It's important to pass that sense of wonder, and hilarity, on.

Sure, the little rascals are already waking up extra early (simmer down boys, 9 nights to go).  We are singing ghastly renditions of all-things-Christmas, and I may have spent all of last Saturday in sweat pants, eating chips and watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

It's not about the gifts (all I really want this year is a good book and a new garlic press) and it's not about money.  It's about taking stock of what we have.  What we already have.  What makes our clocks tick and our lives go on.  And celebrating that. (Mental note for next week, Sarah).

And to let the magic soak right in.  Early morning boogers and all.

Thanks M, for filling my freezer once again, and for bringing me a few holiday treats.  This simple act will reduce my stress, symptoms, and anxiety.  I appreciate you more than you know. 

(And you have great taste in wine...)

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

That Christmas feeling

Christmas is the time of year that is perpetually happy.  The tree is up; the house smothered in festive attire.

The elf has come to watch over the boys.

The snow pants have made their first appearance.

There is novelty in shoveling.

But there is part of me that still wonders if all this becomes a charade.  Living vicariously through the joy of childhood just to ignore all the stuff going on. 

If I can decorate the house and buy lots of presents, perhaps I'll forget about the symptoms? 

My friend Emily, who lives with schwannomatosis, wrote about this very thought on her blog today.  She is a strong, passionate Mama of two boys, living with a chronic, unpredictable disease too.  Despite our very different afflictions, we share a lot of the same emotional reactions to what's been hurled our ways.

I second her thought that, in fact, I am not a miserable sod right now. It's just a little tricky sorting through this mess of frenzied-child-excitement while dealing with my dysfunctional self.

Santa better bring you that red, Em!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Blogging with wine

Part two.

Tonight I celebrate the end of my 4-week-long-eye-twitch.

With a glass of crisp smooth Pinot Gris from Peller Estates .  Another B.C. wine that does the trick on a Tuesday night (Is that saying much?).

So, yes - every few seconds, for 4 weeks, my left eye and lid stopped, jumped frantically, then rested again. 

I have a lot of optical symptoms with my MS, and a lot of random twitchiness.  This was my longest - and most annoying - so far.

But for now - my eyes are back to their usual tricks - making stationary objects look like they are moving, and altering my depth perception just enough so that I always think something is going to come crashing into me - even if it is meters away.  So very odd.

The boys are bathed, reading homework is done, math practice is done, and this week's spelling words have been printed.

Time for some stylish flannel reindeer pajamas, The Killing, and a big glass of this.