Monday, July 28, 2014

Bike MS 2014

My long time friend, Caroline Blackledge, is participating in Willamette Valley's (outside of Portland, Oregon) Bike MS this weekend!
This will be Caroline's 2nd year leading team Kaliope Oregon, in honor of me and my local team, Team Kaliope. Caroline making this kind of commitment to help end MS is just amazing! Since MS limits my ability to exercise (and ok, I am lazy too!), thinking about biking for over 100 miles over 2 days just blows my mind! Especially since I don't even know how to ride a bike!

If you are able to donate to Caroline's efforts to ending MS, please donate any amount. You can view Caroline's personal, secure webpage here. Every dollar counts! Sharing this blog and Caroline's webpage would also be a great help... not only to raise funds, but also to help raise awareness!

As I mentioned, this is not Caroline's first time participating in Bike MS. I was lucky enough to have Caroline guest blog for me last year about her experience. You can read about Caroline's Bike MS Journey here. And, if you would like to read more about how Caroline and I "met" (you'll see why I put this in quotes once you know our story!) you can read all about it in my previous blog Inspiring Others to Raise Awareness.
Every year I participate in Walk MS, and I know what a special experience that is. I can only imagine how amazing Bike MS is, as well. I wish I could be there to cheer Caroline on, and maybe someday I will. But for now, I will be riding with her in spirit!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

MS Madness! A "Giggle More, Cry Less" Story of Multiple Sclerosis Book Review

 MS Madness!  A "Giggle More, Cry Less" Story of Multiple Sclerosis by Yvonne deSousa is exactly what it promises. Lots of laughs! Whether you have MS or not, this book is extremely enjoyable and explains the crazy, bizarre symptoms that can happen with MS and makes you laugh all the way. 

Yvonne was diagnosed in 2009 with Relapse Remitting MS and since then has made it her mission to laugh at MS and make others laugh along with her. She has had me laughing long before her book came out, as she blogs at about her journey with MS.
This book is definitely one I would recommended. Before being diagnosed we all have had symptoms we ignored, and then there were the ones we had that we could not ignore that led us to our diagnosis. 
In the book Yvonne talks about working full time as a receptionist in a medical office. As time went on, and changes were made within the office and Yvonne's symptoms increased, she realized she could not continue working. I am sure it was a difficult decision as she had worked there for many years, but it seems it was the right choice. Stress can intensify symptoms, and it certainly did for Yvonne.
Like all of us, we need to figure out what works for us post MS diagnosis, and figure out what adjustments we need to make to our lives. One of the most common symptoms, which Yvonne and I share, is fatigue. Yvonne talks about her learning experience and what changes she had to make with the many symptoms she was experiencing. Yvonne has many funny stories about her "brain fog" or "cog fog" and an amusing tale about buying a much more expensive computer than planned while on "legal speed." An incident that I can relate to is when Yvonne had a friend visit. It was a tradition for them to go the same restaurant.  Being the summer on Cape Cod, the restaurant was very busy and Yvonne started to get a headache from the loud and crowded restaurant. I have come to realize places I also need to avoid and when I can and can't participate in outings with friends.

I am lucky to call Yvonne my friend, and we once met. (Yes, only once even though we live in the same state!) Once a month I go to a local support group and quite a few years ago one of the leaders asked if she could give Yvonne my email address as she knew we both had a passion for writing and raising MS awareness.  Our friendship bloomed from there.  I am sure we will someday meet again! But, the mean time we encourage and support each other through emails and Facebook. Yvonne has been an inspiration to me and I am sure after reading her book, she will become one to you too! And you will be thankful to be able to laugh at MS too!
P.S. If you would like to buy Yvonne's book here are a few links where to buy it and you can feel good about this purchase as a portion of the proceeds of each book goes to agencies helping people with chronic illness.

Abe Books