Wednesday, November 05, 2003

I know, I know, I've been awfully quiet. I have my reasons, none of which are bad.

On the MS front, there's really been nothing to report. Still not having any major exacerbations. Still having to manage fatigue. Other than that, the health news has been quiet but good.

I'm trying to exercise more, and I know that's been a common theme in my posts. My parents just downsized, and I was the lucky person who got their treadmill, among other things that wouldn't fit in their new home. We've finally parked the thing upstairs, where I can walk and watch TV at the same time. I've did that 3 times last week, but none so far this week. Consistency, consistency.

Things will change around here, and I'll get to the point where I'm updating more than once a month. Right now, there's just not a whole lot of news. Just be patient with me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

I'm back!

Whoa, I knew it had been awhile since I had posted, but I didn't realize how long! How to catch up in a few thousand words or less...


I've attended two other football games since that disasterous one, and both have been quite pleasant experiences. The weather was much nicer (translation: cooler), and I took better care of myself. During the UNC-UVA game, our seats were in the sun, so I followed Tim's lead in heading to the shaded concession areas during halftime. It was a good break. Of course, UVA soundly defeating UNC that day also made it easier to endure.

My Health

Up and down. I got a bad bad cold, which caused me to miss a couple of days at work. Once I got over the cold symptoms, I was still feeling run down. I'm finally feeling back to normal.

Monday, September 01, 2003

Learned a lesson the hard way this weekend - it only takes one day of not taking care of myself to really throw myself out of whack.

We went to the UNC-Florida State game on Saturday with friends. I was running around all day, running errands, and I didn't bother to eat anything because I was too busy. Then we left for Chapel Hill around 5. It was still very hot when we got there. I pigged out on the tailgate we had - a tailgate that was completely void of healthy foods. I realized I was in trouble when I walked over to the Football Center to use the restroom. I didn't say anything to anyone, but it was obvious to everyone as we were walking into the stadium that I was not well. Between the heat, the food smells, and the smoke, I was very quickly becoming quite ill.

We headed to our seats, but I realized I was either going to faint or throw up, so I headed to the ladies' room. Luckily, the line was short, because I was very scared that something was going to happen while I was in line. I made it into a stall before getting sick. And even though I kept drinking water and stayed seated once I got back to the seats, I was so ill that we all talked about leaving at the end of the first quarter.

When our friends took a restroom break, I cried to Tim. "Stupid multiple sclerosis. I hate this disease."

The group did get to laugh about midway through the quarter, when the scoreboard flashed scores from other games. Seeing that Wake Forest had upset Boston College, and that Virginia was shutting out Duke, suddenly perked me up. They were teasing me at how quickly I came around when I saw those scores. Let's hear it for distraction.

We left at halftime, and I headed straight into a cold bath. I missed church the next morning so I could sleep in, and I made sure that I didn't continue the cycle of unhealthy eating. The plan for the rest of the weekend suddenly included regular breaks to sit and relax.

I'm doing better now, but yet another lesson learned the hard way.

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

I never learn. Saying 'yes' too many times and getting overwhelmed is a vicious pattern I keep repeating. At least this time, I've stopped myself early, before the damage got too high. So instead of my stress level continuing to go up, up, up, it's heading down to a more manageable level. How I'm doing it:

Yoga - I haven't exercised regularly in forever. I could keep beating myself up over that, or I could start exercising. I've done yoga 3 of the last 4 days. Sure, it doesn't burn the calories of cardio, but it does calm me down. And my back feels much better. Right now, calming down and removing guilt is enough.

Volunteering - I contacted the MS Society and let them know I just don't feel ready without the training. My contact understood completely and was very supportive of my decision to hold off. Now instead of freaking out that I'll mess up, I can get the training I need to feel more comfortable. Deep down I know I wouldn't mess it up if I started now, but I was so anxious about it earlier this week that I know I need to give myself a break from that stress.

House - I'm practicing my delegating skills here. Tim is quite capable of handling a lot of things, and I'm letting him. For example, he's the main contact with our real estate agent. I'm also breaking down what I need to do into smaller blocks. The current block is focusing on what we need to decide before our next design meeting. Once that's over, my focus will shift to cleaning out and decluttering our current place.

Fun - I'm making sure I have it, but I'm not letting it stress me out. For example, we received loads of invitations for Labor Day weekend stuff (and most of them came in on one day!). We decided to do all of the evening activities, so that I can sleep in as needed and get things done during the day. Friday night, we may be having dinner at a friend's house. Easy call there, only have to bring some wine, and we'll have a blast. Saturday we opted to tailgate and go to a football game that night instead of heading to a water park all day. The water park would have been fun, but it would have been tiring. Some friends wanted to get together for dinner on Sunday, so we're going to do an easy dinner at our house. Given the menu I'm considering, easy is the key word there. So I know I'll have loads of fun this weekend, but there will be time to bathe dogs and get some much-needed rest.

Monday, August 25, 2003

My husband was asked at church when I was going to be updating my blog. Well, I had meant to update it but...I know, if wishes were horses than beggars would ride. So now I'm sitting down and actually writing.

Training Teleconferences, etc.

Well, I the volunteer training has been rescheduled for October, so hopefully I'll get to participate in it then. I also missed last week's complementary and alternative medicine one. Last week was a bear at work, and I was a bear at home because of it. Since I actually had a nice day at work on Thursday (the day of the teleconference), I decided to cook a really nice dinner. Thursdays are the days I pick up my fresh produce, and this time I also bought some fresh pasta and some cookies from another farmer. Then I headed to the health food store to get some fresh fish. By the time we finished fighting with the grill and actually had some dinner to show for it, the teleconference was already half over. Oh well...the food was awesome (if I do say so myself). I won't miss this week's, though.

Even though the volunteer training has been postponed, the volunteer effort hasn't. I've already been asked to get started in Peer Support. I've been nervous about it. I had a "lightbulb moment" on Sunday, though. I thought back to when I've struggled with my diagnosis and thought about what I needed at those times. I didn't need someone who had the exact perfect thing to say, I just needed someone to be there. I needed people to understand that sometimes, I just don't have it in me to do what I always used to do, or to follow their agenda. I can offer that to someone else. So even though I won't have the exact perfect words as I volunteer, I'll do all right. When I was at church on Sunday, a woman told me about someone else at church who had been diagnosed with MS and mentioned that she had given this woman my name. I was pleased. I do want to be a resource for others. In a way, it's a chance for me to have something positive come out of this stupid diagnosis.

House Update

There's actually progress on the house! We had our first design meeting on Friday. I can't wait for it to be built, because it will be completely gorgeous. I know there will be times I will be frustrated by this whole process (I've already had some "get me out of this deal" moments), but for now I'm psyched again.

Exercise Update

Let's hope that Saturday was the start of a beautiful friendship between me and my exercise video collection. After working a good portion of the day (let's not go there, OK?), I got some chores done at home and then popped in my Yoga for Weight Loss tape. It lasted nearly an hour, but I made it through. I just wish I would have remembered to put on the awesome yoga pants I bought on sale a few weeks ago. I like this tape because there are four levels of modification shown throughout. I go back and forth between the fully modified and mostly modified pose, depending on which body parts I'm attempting to contort. My legs were sore that night, but Tim gave me a massage. Another benefit of exercising - Tim gives great massages.

Now it's just a matter of making time in my schedule to exercise more regularly. I've already identified Sunday mornings as good opportunities to do a yoga routine. Once choir starts up in September, Tim will have to be at church 30 minutes before I will. I'll get up when he does and head down to do the AM Yoga for Beginners routine (wonderful tape, BTW). Then I'll still have plenty of time to get ready and be in the pew before the service starts. Since I've made some sensible choices for meals this week that don't take long to prepare, I should be able to fit in some after-work time too -- as long as I stop working weird hours. I am not working this weekend, unless the pager goes off.

Writing Update

I'm going to be published next week! I've started writing for a spiritual e-zine, and I've submitted my article for the September issue. I can't wait to see my article in print. I've already seen what the next two topics are (it's published 6 times a year), and I'm excited about the assignments. The reality show column that I write wrapped up last week (since the show's over), but I'm trying to figure out another topic for my satirical skewering. I'm sure I'll find one.

I'm also going to try and do a better job of keeping this updated. It's hard, sometimes. After all, some days the only thing I have to say about my illness is that it's still here and I'm dealing with it. That gets boring. I hate being boring.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

OK, I've definitely fallen down in keeping this thing updated. I'll try and do better in the future.

Medical Update

I've had every sort of appointment you can think of under the sun during the past month and a half. Now I'm caught up on all of my doctors' appointments. All went extremely well, with the only less than fabulous news being a look at my cholesterol level. I liked my doctor's attitude during the physical when we were talking about my weight gain: "You've taken care of the disease, now you can take care of yourself." She also gave me the name of a dietician, in case I want to talk with someone about modifying my eating habits. I've started a food diary right now, so that I can give the honest answers if I go, instead of talking about the good stuff I remembering eating and selectively forgetting to talk about the rest.

Dog Days of Summer

It's started getting hot and humid here - the typical NC stickiness is in high gear now. Fortunately, I can limit my time outside, so it's not that big of a deal for me.


I haven't been able to participate in the training teleconferences, since the date got switched from Thursdays to Wednesdays. It's OK, though, because they're going to send me tapes that I can listen to once all of the sessions are done. I've also gotten some articles in the mail that I get to read for continuing education credit. I'm required to get 12 hours each year as a volunteer. The two articles I've gotten so far count as 4, plus I have some teleconferences coming up, so I have no doubt I'll easily keep up with that number.

Thursday is teleconference day in August for me. This Thursday, the topic is Alternative & Complimentary Medicine, hosted by a doctor from the Rocky Mountain Center. He spoke at our chapter's annual meeting last year and provided a wealth of information. I'm looking forward to picking his brain again. Next week's topic is Nutrition & MS - obviously, another important topic for me.

On a non-MS note, I've also agreed to be the assistant chair for the Advisory Planning Committee in Junior League this year. This is my first "in-league" placement - in prior years, I've worked with community agencies. I got the assistant chair moniker when my friend who's chairing the committee asked me if I was any good with databases, since we're doing a survey this year. Databases are my job, so I said yes. (I hope I'm good at them, since they are my job!)

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

I had another Pilates equipment session tonight. It's been a few months, and I've been out of practice, so it really held some medieval torture chamber aspects for me. But it felt so good! I was absolutely worn out during the work out and had to call for a water break at one point. As I was walking to my car, I realized how much I've been underestimating myself. I did so much more during that session than I've done in a long while. It was an hour of hard work, but I felt good afterwards. Tim was worried because my face was very red when I got home, but I feel fine. I know I'll sleep well tonight, and I should have some interesting aches tomorrow in muscles that hadn't been used in awhile.

I've been reading the Kathy Smith Challenge in, and there are some good ideas for trying to lose weight there. I like the step-by-step approach of the challenge. For example, this week's nutrition focus is on healthy breakfasts. That's something I need to think about, since I sometimes bypass my planned healthy breakfast to indulge in a Panera chocolate chip bagel or some Krispy Kremes. But now I am recommitting to healthy breakfasts. By accident, I have also managed to successfully complete the first two days of the exercise schedule...a major accomplishment. I think it's been a month since I exercised two days in the same week.

Work is still insane, but I have managed to squeeze in some long-overdue (and even a few on-time) checkups. Female-wise, all is fine, and I expect the same report when I have my three-month appointment with the neurologist this week. Next month is the dreaded physical. I was supposed to get my cholesterol re-checked over a year ago, but I put it off since I didn't want to hear the bad news. The MS was enough bad news for me for awhile. But now it's time to face the truth. I also plan to ask my doctor for the name of a nutritionist, since an overweight woman with MS and high cholesterol could use some professional advice.

This week is also a Working Women's Luncheon sponsored by the National MS Society. I'm so glad I didn't throw away the invitation, because I misread it the first time. We're going to be discussing the benefits of journaling. Hello? You're reading my online journal right now - talk about a topic that would interest me. Oh, and I ordered the turkey sandwich box lunch, so another step in a right direction there.

I've gotten my training materials for my volunteer training and started to study them. A couple of years ago, I volunteered on a crisis hotline, and I think that training will help me handle this. Funny, I used to be scared to talk to people on the phone, and here I am volunteering again for something that requires phone time.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Well, it's the dog days of summer, with temps in the high 90s, but I'm handling them quite well. I did go overboard on Sunday afternoon, doing some long-overdue gardening on the deck. I took a huge glass of water out there with me, but I still was very warm afterwards. When I looked in the mirror, my face was flushed, so I decided drastic measures were in order. I headed upstairs and took a cold bubble bath. I was going to lie in there and read, but my face felt so hot that I just immersed myself for awhile. My left foot went numb a little later, but the numbness didn't last long.

And you should see my plants! It finally looks like I have plants on my deck, instead of a whole bunch of dead stuff in pots.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Back Better Than Ever

I've finally gotten over that yucky bug that had me feeling so awful. I had a lovely, lingering case of laryngitis, which meant I had to deal with all sorts of interesting attempts at humor. I told everyone I had started chainsmoking, LOL (that's Laughing Out Loud for you non-Internet types). I was told I sounded like Blythe Danner, Brenda Vaccaro, and a very scary woman. Tim was the one who kept mentioning the last one.

Work has been insane, but in a good way. I'm deep into a challenging project that's finally gaining some momentum.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Sick Puppy

I have been one sick puppy this week. Sore throat, fever, chills - ick. I have to admit, I was relieved when I found out a coworker had the same thing I did. For a little while, I was afraid that I was just having some serious flulike symptoms in response to overdoing it this weekend. It was a relief to know that I was just an ordinary person with a normal illness that would run its course, instead of it being related to my MS.

I'm almost back to normal now. My voice sounds terrible, and my nose is stuffed up, but I'm otherwise OK. Meanwhile, two coworkers who have gotten sick are blaming me.

I'm going to delay my shot this week, to give myself a chance to fully recover. Of course, there goes my excuse to sit around all day Saturday, reading the new Harry Potter book.


I got the information about my peer support/telefriend training in the mail yesterday. There will be 3 teleconferences coming up later this summer that I'll participate in. I'm looking forward to it.

House Stuff

Tim and I were so excited about the decisions we've made. We headed over to the Design Center with one of the wallpaper books we had checked out, to see how the wallpaper looked with our tile selections. Then we headed over to the model, where the sales agent told us that they're going with a new tile company, and we'll have to make all new choices for our tile. Hopefully it will be easier this time, since we have an idea of what we like.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

I read an email this morning from one of my blog readers - thanks for making my day!

Last month, I got an application from the National MS Society to be a peer support/telefriend volunteer. I thought about it for awhile, wanting to make sure I'd be able to devote the appropriate time to the responsibility, and finally filled in my application last night. It's in the mail to them. If accepted, I should be getting a brochure with more information soon, and then starting training next month. This should be easier than the last telephone volunteer job I had, which was for a crisis line. It's scary picking up the phone wondering if the person on the other end may be suicidal. I think I'll be able to handle this more easily.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

I need to do a better job of updating this thing.

Interesting Article

I read an article in the paper today that suggested that some allergy and autoimmune disorders can be related to the cleanliness of the home. Apparently, children who grew up in very clean homes were more likely to suffer from allergies or autoimmune disorders since their immune systems weren't exposed to as many things when they were little. The article even cited a group diagnosed with multiple sclerosis who grew up in cleaner homes.

Hmmm, don't know if there is any association, but it does give me something to tease my Mom about. After all, she's an excellent housekeeper. Meanwhile, I'm no Donna Reed, so if we ever have kids, they should be safe, LOL (that's laughing out loud for those of you who don't frequent message boards).

How am I doing?

Busy, busy, busy. Obviously, I haven't been posting lately.

Health's been doing all right. I haven't reacted badly to my past few shots. I still flinch when I get the shot - no matter who gives it - and Tim still hates it that I flinch. He does a great job, though, and doesn't leave any nasty bruises. Vision's been fine. Have had a little bit of numbness now and then, but nothing that lasts for that long of a time.

Still dealing with minor bladder issues. Basically, MS can affect your "early warning system", and it can also affect your ability to know when you're done. So when I think I need to go, I better go. And I don't necessarily know when I'm done, so I have to be patient and wait to make sure. And when we were at the beach, I had to make sure that I didn't wait too long to hike back over the dunes to the house. But other than that, it's no big deal. I take cranberry tablet supplements, since I'm more susceptible to UTI's, but I haven't had any problems so far.

Had fun at the beach. Didn't have any problems with my MS, even though there were air conditioning problems in both houses where we stayed. I got tired one day and took a long nap, but that could be blamed on staying up late the night before and getting up early in the morning to make breakfast and hit the beach. Since I wasn't the only napper, I don't think we'll blame my illness. And even though I'm supposedly more susceptible to sunburn now, I only had a little bit of pink in a couple areas - mostly I was just a pleasantly light tan.

Last weekend was a hectic one. We went to the James Taylor concert with four friends on Saturday. Luckily, we had reserved seating, because less than an hour before the concert was a huge rainstorm. The poor folks who were trying for good spots on the lawn got soaked, while we just piled into the back of Tim's Honda Pilot and waited for the rain to pass before leaving the parking lot. Sunday included signing more house papers and going to a fundraiser for a friend who had a heart transplant. We got some good loot at the silent auction, including some fun jewelry for me, a gift certificate to one of our favorite restaurants, and a cool lamp for our house. Tim has already decided we'll use the gift certificate to celebrate his birthday.

Speaking of Tim, he got his contract from UNC in the mail, and he has submitted his resignation to Meredith. Next year, he'll just be at UNC, instead of splitting his time between schools. He'll miss the folks at Meredith, but it was exhausting trying to keep up with two places. We're both very excited about this move for him.

More House News

Well, we've signed all of the preliminary papers, and we have appointments scheduled at the Design Center to make our choices. We're trying to go through bit by bit and get done with them. The cool thing is that we're pretty much on the same page on everything - we're agreeing pretty readily on most choices. I've tentatively decided to go with the same interior color that Sue picked, but Tim wants to wait and see what my parents' paint color looks like before committing. They picked a darker shade, and he thinks the one I like may be a little too pale. Sunday was tile day. This weekend is a break from house decisions (more on that later). I think next weekend will be carpet weekend. We also need to get our paperwork done to join the country club, so we can go ahead and use the pool this summer. I'm looking forward to dropping by on my way home from work and taking a quick dip. Our friends are looking forward to invitations for dollar beer Fridays.

Happy Anniversary to Us

For those folks who don't believe that time flies, I'd like to point out that Saturday is our 6th wedding anniversary. Yup, Tim has put up with me for 6 years (actually, more than that when you include dating and engagement). We are celebrating by sneaking away to Chapel Hill for a 5-star weekend getaway at the Fearrington House. We're looking forward to some good food and some serious pampering, including champagne and massages in our room. I plan to do some shopping while I'm there, if I see cool stuff for the house.

Monday, May 12, 2003

You Can't Have It All

Shot night was Friday night. In the past several weeks, I've been noticing more side effects, as well as feeling more pain when I took the shot. My Avonex nurse called on Friday to check in with me, and she suggested I take the medicine out even earlier, to make sure it gets to room temperature before the shot. So I took it out before we headed out to dinner.

This shot did hurt less. And I had fewer side effects the next day - just a mild fever, and I was tired out after shopping and going to the movies. But there's a nice big bruise on my left thigh, because I bruised myself when I gave myself the shot. I cannot win. Either I feel worse, or I look worse. My dad asked me if Tim hurt me while giving me the shot, but I 'fessed up that I was the one responsible for the bruise.

And now is not the time to start giving myself mega-bruises, with summer heat already making a brief visit this past weekend. I don't really want to spend 90+ degree days in long pants just to hide the mark.

Sun Care

The nurse gave me loads of useful information during our phone call on Friday. She talked about some of the issues associated with photosensitivity. My eyes may be more sensitive to light, so I need to make sure to wear my sunglasses. A light bulb went off inside my head when she mentioned that. Earlier in the week, I had driven home on an overcast day, but I still had to put on my sunglasses to avoid squinting.

(Psst, don't tell the nurse, but I forgot to bring my sunglasses to work today.)

She also mentioned that my skin is more susceptible to burning, so I need to be extra careful about using sunscreen. Yeah, that's just what a pale person with Swedish and Welsh in her background wants to hear. Like I don't have enough trouble already.

We're going to the beach over Memorial Day weekend, and I'm already planning some of the essentials. A crate of sunscreen (since Tim is even paler than I am!) is at the top of the list. And the last time I went to the beach, I had taken along a lot of water bottles that I had frozen. It turned out to be a great plan, so I'll make sure we're well-stocked again this trip.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Catching up on life can get in the way of writing about life.


I reacted worse to my most recent shot than I had in awhile. I was so tired, and my fever lasted until Sunday morning. Tim sang with the NC Symphony, but I had to miss the performance because I just didn't have the energy. I got dizzy walking to the mailbox, so we didn't want to chance it.

I've also been noticing more numbness in my right leg. It comes and goes, and it's never all that dramatic. It doesn't affect my mobility. It's just one of those nuisance things.

House Update

We're still in the preliminary stages, trying to pick out what colors everything will be, the tile, etc. etc. etc. Last Sunday we spent the afternoon looking through models to see some of the options, since you can't tell much from a 12x12 tile stuck to a piece of cardboard. Then we hung out in the Design Center looking things over. Mom and Sue ran into us there and offered some help. Then we headed over to their new places to see how construction was (or wasn't) proceeding.


One of the cool things about spring is all of the fresh produce that's available. My company has an agreement with some local farmers, where we buy shares and they bring their wares to the office weekly. I've been getting cheese and tomatoes, and this week we started getting our big basket of produce from an organic farmer. Loads of greens, greens, greens, so we're eating loads of salads, salads, salads. Everything looked gorgeous as I unloaded it from the basket yesterday, so it's been quite easy to get psyched up for salad. They also brought me organic strawberries (yum!), fresh herbs, and some fresh flowers to brighten up our home.

We had a plant sale at work to benefit the day care center. I promised to behave, but for the third year in a row I went overboard. Tim's a good sport, though, because he did enjoy the cherry tomatoes I grew last year. I told Tim I was planning to buy basil, cilantro, and maybe jalapeno peppers this year. Well, in addition to those purchases (and should I mention I bought two different types of basil?), I also bought Roma tomatoes and yellow peppers. This weekend I'll plant everything in the containers. We'll see how long things last before I kill them, or how long it takes for them to go wild. I didn't buy any mint, because the peppermint and garden mint I bought last year have come back quite nicely, thank you very much. Tim's hoping things grow well, because he loves yellow peppers, and because homemade salsa is so yummy. If my plants produce well, he'll have fresh salsa practically on demand.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

Good news on the blood work. My doctor left a message earlier this week that the results were fine. They have to keep checking me every once in awhile, since Avonex can cause liver problems, but so far so good for me.

Monday, April 21, 2003

Sometimes this disease can be embarrassing.

On Saturday, I was dealing with a fever and fatigue caused by my Friday night shot. I fell asleep on the couch and made us late for our afternoon appointment to sign papers on the house we're building. Then we went to have dinner with some friends that night. I was practically dozing on the couch after dinner, and my hostess thought it was because I was bored. I don't know why I felt self-conscious about saying it was the medicine, but I did. I guess I was afraid that they'd feel bad about asking me to come over when I felt less than 100%, when I had been so excited to receive their invitation.

Friday, April 18, 2003

Doctor's Appointment

Had my regular appointment with the neurologist yesterday. Every three months, I check in, we do a few simple tests, and just discuss how things are going with the disease. Yesterday's appointment was quite pleasant. I've made wonderful progress in the last three months. When he asks me questions about my balance, I can just laugh, because I do so many balance exercises in my Pilates class.

I did have two slightly abnormal things yesterday. The lower number on my blood pressure was high, even when I sat calmly and had it checked again. I blamed it on house anxiety. And during my tests, there were tremors in my hands. Since they showed up in both hands, it seems more likely to be a side effect of my medicine.

I also had some blood drawn yesterday. They do bloodwork every 6 months to make sure everything still checks out. Sometimes, Avonex can cause problems with the liver, so these blood tests can just verify that mine's still OK. I used to be so scared of the needle used for blood tests, and now I just laugh. Nothing like a weekly shot to get me over my fears in that area.

One of the nice things about these frequent appointments is the ability to ask questions in a timely manner. As most North Carolinians could tell you, allergy season is in full swing. Well, three months ago, I didn't care whether any allergy medications interacted with my medicines, but after a few days of sniffling and sneezing, I can assure you that I do now. The nurse ran me a list of all known drug interactions with my medicines, and now I know that I can take any allergy medicine I want when those snifflies return. And after seeing the list (or, more accurately, the lack of list), I can feel comfortable with any over-the-counter medicine now - I don't need to wonder.

Opening the Mailbag

Now time for my own version of viewer mail. One of the most common questions I've been asked, particularly right after being diagnosed, was "What does this mean for any family plans that you and Tim may have?"

I just got my latest issue of Inside MS, which is the magazine for the National MS Society, and they spent most of the issue discussing MS and pregnancy. The information from that matched up with information I've gotten from my doctor and other sources, like pamphlets and conferences.

The basic answer is: it has virtually no impact.

Most women with MS have fewer exacerbations during pregnancy, especially in the last two trimesters. The anecdotal evidence is so strong that there are research studies looking into female hormones and their effect on MS. As far as pregnancy, labor, and delivery go, a woman with MS doesn't usually encounter any special issues.

There is a 20-40% chance of an attack in the period right after delivery. Most people attribute this to the stress and lack of sleep that a new mother faces. This makes breastfeeding a question that needs to be pondered. Should a woman with MS breastfeed her child and take the risk of an exacerbation? Or should the woman get back on her medication and not pass on the benefits of breast milk to her child? From everything I've read and asked, it's a personal decision. My OB/GYN is a breast-feeding advocate, but he recognizes that my situation is special and is comfortable with whatever decision I choose. And since I don't have a child yet, I'm keeping my mind open. That's a decision Tim and I will make if we have a child.

House Anxiety

I mentioned this in my blood pressure section, so I guess I should elaborate...

Tim and I are having a carriage house built. The floor plan is absolutely terrific, and this house will make our lives easier in so many ways:

* Cut down big time on commuting. For example, my commute will go from 20 miles (one way) to 6 miles. Tim gets benefits too.

* No more yardwork! Poor Tim, his schedule is not conducive to getting major yardwork done. And with my heat sensitivity, I'm not a whole lot of help. Now we won't have to worry about it.

* First floor master bedroom. Now when I get tired, or if I ever have any mobility issues, I can go to bed without climbing the stairs.

* Two car garage. Bye bye one-car carport, hello dry storage for both of us. Now in bad weather, we can take Tim's SUV without getting drenched to get in it.

* Very convenient shopping. There's a big strip mall right across the street from the community, so I'll be able to run errands without running all over the place.

* A community swimming pool. My neurologist encourages me to swim, since I can get exercise while keeping my body temperature regulated.

* Family close by. My parents and sister will be living in a different part of the community, so if I have an attack and need someone to drive me somewhere or run errands for me, I've got folks nearby I can call. I could even call them to pick me up at work if I have an attack there and can't drive home.

* We're getting a whirlpool tub! I love luxuriating in the bathtub, and this will be so much nicer than my itty-bitty tub.

I'm sure I'll be talking more about the house over the next year, while we go through the whole process of getting it built. It's exciting...but scary at the same time!

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Yeah, I know, it's been awhile since I've updated this thing.

My Health

For the most part, it's been OK. I've been burning the candle at both ends this week, getting to work at 7am to cover for a coworker on vacation. Getting out of my routine also meant I forgot to consistently take my medication, so getting overtired and undermedicated led to my complete feeling of rundown yesterday. I forced myself to go to bed early, and I'm doing better today. I'm still tired, but I'm not at that feverish fatigue point that I found yesterday, when I knew for sure I had pushed myself too much.

I thought that I might continue getting up earlier in the morning once I was done covering for my coworker, but considering how tired I've been this week, I doubt I will.

MS Walk

The MS Walk was supposed to be held in this area last Saturday, but I don't think they got a chance to walk because of the weather. I didn't sign up to do it this year, for a variety of reasons. Last year, it was important for me to do it, to feel like I was doing something positive to fight this illness. But I did two fund-raising events for MS last year, and that took a lot out of me. I'm not a fundraiser, yet I managed to raise almost $1,400 for MS last year. I need to give myself - and the generous people who sponsored me - a bit of a break. If the MS Society does the Pooch Parade again, I'll be there, because the dogs had such an incredible time at last year's event.


I know I've been complaining a lot about back pain and stiffness. Well, my hard work in Pilates class has been paying off, and I can honestly say that I'm more flexible now than I have ever been in my life.

A couple of Sundays ago, I woke up so stiff that I could barely bend over. I dragged myself into the spare room and did Pilates for about 5 minutes. Then I leaned over and touched my toes without bending my knees. I've never done that before. That afternoon, I was showing off to my family some of the stuff I can do now. The girl who couldn't sit down, stretch out her legs, and touch her toes can now wrap her hands about the arches of her feet without bending her knees. Tim flexed my foot during a foot massage that weekend and was amazed at how much more flexible it was than in the past.

A couple of days ago, I did a yoga tape. This was after taking a week off of exercise due to injury. I was ready to laugh out loud when it was time to do a variation of the bridge pose. On the tape, the instructor says to put a block under your waist and rest your body on the block. When I started doing the bridge pose, I would have to fight to lift myself up farther so I could put the brick down. This time, I had to lower my hips to rest them on the brick. It's fun when progress is so obvious.

Am I pain-free? No, I still get twinges now and then. But I recover much faster, and am still capable of doing more to get through the pain. I was feverish last night during Pilates class, and I still was performing a lot of the moves. But having to take a week off for injury taught me a valuable lesson - I've got to keep moving to keep feeling good.

Sunday, March 23, 2003

What a difference a few hours make.

I slept in this morning. We were supposed to go to Sunday School class, and I was really looking forward to it. But I was nauseous last night, so I didn't want to push myself today. Well, I slept in so late that my back was painfully stiff. I gently worked it back into some semblance of normalcy.

After having brunch with my family, we headed back to my parents' house so that my sister could unwrap her birthday gifts. While she did so, I was on the floor, effortlessly moving from one Pilates move to another. My mom was pleasantly surprised to watch me stretch and grab my feet, and then move into other strength moves. I used to not be able to grab my foot when I stretched my leg out, but now I was grabbing the arch with little effort. I even was able to reach down and touch the floor in a straight-legged forward bend - the first time I've ever done that!

I've never been flexible, and up until recently, I had to deal with a lot of pain. Now, even though I have this disease that could affect my mobility, I'm more flexible than ever...most of the time. I just have to ease into it some days when I start out stiff. I also have to keep working at it, to keep showing the improvement.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Well, I was going to start a new blog yesterday, but it's not working yet. Oh well. Hopefully, I'll be able to get this to work.

Tonight is the start of my Pilates Mat 2 class. If you would have told me I would not only make it through Mat 1, but would sign up for a second dose, I would have laughed. Well, I would have laughed after about two or three classes, anyway. But I'm sticking with it and looking forward to this evening.

Monday, March 17, 2003

Had an up and down week. Most of the week was great (despite the showing of my basketball teams). But I reacted poorly to my shot this weekend and spent most of the time resting. I had so little energy that I missed going to dinner with friends on Saturday and Tim's performance with the MasterChorale on Sunday. I was tired, feverish, and had a few chills. Sigh. Just when I think I've got the side effects licked, I have them again. I guess I'm just one of those people forced to deal with sporadic side effects.

Didn't finish my Get With the Program exercise program this weekend, since I was too tired to do another cardio and stretching session. Oh, well. That's just how it goes sometimes. I've scheduled some workouts for this week, and we'll see if I'm up to keeping these appointments with myself.

Monday, March 10, 2003

Greenbrier Weekend

We had a wonderful vacation! The weather was absolutely perfect, which they said is a first for a long time. On Friday night, we basically just rested and ate. After an awesome breakfast on Saturday, we took a tour of their formerly-top-secret bunker. We had a quick lunch, then took a carriage ride around the resort. Then it was off to the spa for some stone massages, followed by more relaxing and eating. We shopped a little yesterday before getting into the car to head home. We stopped by Tim's grandmother's for a surprise visit during the afternoon, and then got home to cheer on both of our alma maters to upset victories in basketball.

The only downside of the weekend was some lower back pain. It's been almost two months since it's felt this bad. Even the massage didn't do a whole lot for it. I have an herbal back pillow that I can heat up and apply to it, but I can't find the thing - ack.

Anniversary Update

I'll be too busy this weekend to mope about the fact that I was diagnosed with MS a year ago. On Friday night, I'll be watching the ACC Tournament at home with Tim and our friends Walter and Rhonda. In addition to watching more basketball and having a fantasy baseball draft on Saturday, I'll also be heading out for dinner with friends, including one of Tim's colleagues from Germany. I always have a blast with this crew.

The ACC Tournament is one of my favorite sporting events of the year. Who am I kidding? It's the best. I just wish I could be home Friday afternoon to watch Wake Forest play, but things will be too busy at work, unfortunately. At least UVA managed to avoid the play-in game, so I can watch them on Friday night while munching on pizza and wings and having a beer. That's a great way to spend a Friday night.

Get With the Program

Now that vacation is over, it's time to kick it up a notch and enter Phase 2. The goals include adding another glass of water and another day of functional exercises. I've been meeting the Phase 2 requirements for those two areas for the past two weeks, so no problem there. I also am supposed to start adding cardio and limiting my alcohol. Between the fitness center at work (literally, right around the corner from my desk) and my exercises videos, I should be able to handle the cardio requirement.

I'm going to do an exercise video tonight. I planned to make black bean lasagna for dinner, and it takes awhile to bake. On the plus side, that means I can put it together, throw it in the oven, and forget about it while I work out. Tim has a meeting tonight, so I will have plenty of time to do both my functional exercises and a cardio workout before dinner. I've already exceeded my water requirement for today, so I'm on track there.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

I always tell myself I'm going to write something in my blog, but then I let things pile up until I end up writing one big massive entry.


Woohoo! Tim and I leave tomorrow for a long weekend at The Greenbrier. I bought a certificate at a charity auction and got a great deal. After our amazing anniversary trip last June to the Grove Park in Asheville, I've got Tim addicted to resort/spa vacations. But what's not to like? Getting pampered, great food, and not having to worry about chores, taxes, etc. for an entire weekend!

Tim excitedly poured over the spa menu and decided to try a stone massage. Since I've never had one, I thought it would be fun to try something new. So Saturday afternoon, we'll find out what the fuss is all about. Tim also wants to take a carriage ride while we're there - should be fun!


I got email last week! It was so cool hearing from folks. It also reminded me how far (and I mean really far) behind I am on responding to the regular mail I've gotten. And let's not even bring up the fact that I didn't have my act together to get Christmas cards out this year. I have been thrilled by every letter, note, and card I've gotten, and I am trying to get back on track with my correspondence so I can let folks know personally.

Happy? Anniversary

The 15th of this month will mark a year since I found out I have MS. I plan to spend the day watching the ACC Tournament semi-finals and participating in a fantasy baseball online draft. In other words, I plan to just keep doing what I always do. That's all I can do, isn't it?

The Silly Side of My Life

As I mentioned, I have a fantasy baseball team. Actually, I have two teams, the Ballhogs and Base-ically Evil. I also have a fantasy hockey team (Bluebabies), a fantasy NBA team (BallGods), and a fantasy golf team (19th Hole Gang). Once a sports junkie, always a sports junkie. I've just expanded into fantasy sports. At least I don't have a fantasy NASCAR team...yet/


I'm still doing a great job on my Get With the Program exercises, and I'm easily beating the minimum number of workouts per week. Next week, I'm moving to Phase 2 of the program, so I'll have to balance those exercises with cardio workouts. Given the number of days I'm currently exercising, it should not be a problem.

My Pilates class comes to an end next week. I've already signed up for the continuation. During class Tuesday, I was amazed at how far I've come...and how much I still have to learn. But I'm having a lot less back pain, both frequency and severity. My flexibility has already improved dramatically. Given the muscle spasticity that can accompany MS, I am definitely sticking with what is working for me.

It's funny, though...I used to hate doing ab exercises (and I'm still not enthused about the ones in GWTP), but I enjoy working my abs like crazy during Pilates class. Go figure.

MS Walk

The MS Walk is scheduled for Saturday, April 5. I've been a deadbeat about registering, but I will be doing the walk. More information to follow. Since I'm not in as good shape this year as I was last year, I'll definitely be needing moral support to get through this!

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

Well, yesterday was weird. I had a heat reaction while I was at work yesterday. I wore a sweater (cotton, not incredibly heavy), and I decided to drink some herbal tea during the afternoon. The next thing I knew, I felt flushed and worn out. I quickly switched to cold water instead of tea, but I still felt tired. When I went to my Pilates class, I did not feel completely up to par. I'm proud of myself, though, because I did finish the class without wearing myself out. I recognized my limits and stopped when I needed to - at one point, I even got up and grabbed a cup of water.

One of my biggest fears about exercising is not being able to recognize my limits and pushing myself to where I was wearing myself out instead of building myself up. Last night was a prime example of not doing that. After the exercise. a shower, and dinner, I felt loads better.

Another cool thing about the exercise class is that I'm really starting to notice some progress. Whether it's more control over a Pilates move (I can do Rolling Like a Ball and actually roll when I want to instead of just flopping around spastically) or going deeper into a hamstring stretch, I'm seeing my body capable of doing some things it couldn't do at the beginning of the year.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

This is a weird week for me, because it marks an anniversary of sorts. Last year this time, I had optic neuritis, my major attack that led to the diagnosis of my MS. Strange to think how much has happened in a year.

Monday, February 24, 2003

MS Conference

I wasn't all that enthused about going, because it was foggy, it was early on a Saturday morning, and I had partied hard on Friday night. But my indifference quickly vanished, because the conference was quite informative. I had heard some of the stuff before, but as I pointed out to one of the company reps, you hear different things at different points in your illness, so some repetition can be good. I took some good notes and brought home some research updates to read later.

An MS advocate also spoke, and she talked about her ritual before taking her shots. Apparently, her crush on Chuck Norris is big enough to dull the pain of the shot, so she watches "Walker, Texas Ranger" before her shot. I immediately knew who I would substitute for Chuck Norris and decided that I need to start taping "Alias" to watch before my shot, since I'm a big Michael Vartan fan. We rented a movie on Saturday night, One Hour Photo. Robin Williams stars in it, but guess who else is in it? Yup. So I got to see if my variation of her ritual would work. I have to say, the shot didn't hurt that night.

Get With the Program

I mentioned in my last entry that I'm reading this book and following the plan. I successfully completed a week at Phase 1, drinking at least 6 glasses of water every day, completing my written exercises, and doing the exercises at least 3 days (I did 4 days). The book suggests staying in Phase 1 for 1-3 weeks before proceeding to the second phase. In Phase 2, I add one more glass of water per day, and I do the functional exercises 4 days a week. I also start to add cardio exercise and limit my alcohol consumption.

I guess I consider myself in Phase 1 1/2 right now. I'm going to start integrating the next phase stuff this week, but I'll consider it a successful week if I complete the Phase 1 requirements again. Anything on top of that will just be gravy. I've had a tendency in the past to try and do too much too fast, so I don't want to set myself up for failure.

Friday, February 21, 2003

Oops. It's been a while since I've updated this, hasn't it?

Publicity? for my blog

I was so excited. Our local paper was doing an article on local webloggers, and they contacted me about an interview. We had a 10-minute phone interview, and she talked to me about the possibility of getting my picture taken. Well, the article appeared, and the only thing they used from my interview age. I'm sure that the lives of my fellow Raleighites are so much richer now that they know I'm 35. I've gotten one email based on that article, from a guy who wanted me to read his book. The book has nothing to do with MS, he just wanted someone to read it. Nope.

Upcoming MS Events

Tomorrow, I'm heading to Durham for a half-day conference on clinical trials. Should be an interesting update on the ongoing research.

The MS Walk is April 5. I haven't signed up yet, because I heard there was a chance that the Pooch Parade would be held on the same weekend. The doggies had so much fun that I have to make sure to participate again this year. I don't think that's going to happen, though, so I can sign up for the walk. Time to start training! My friend Donna mentioned putting together a team, so we're trying to think of a cool name. After all, I was one of the top individual fundraisers for the Pooch Parade (thanks to y'all!!!!), so if our team name gets published, we don't want it to be something stupid. Once I do sign up, I'll include a link here, so people can donate if they choose.

The new medicine

I've been on my new medicine (in addition to the Avonex) for the past two weeks, and things are going well. I've had some insomnia, but otherwise no bad side effects. The neurologist told me that my hip pain would probably lessen, and it has. Sleeping had been so difficult due to the pain, but it's subsided to only occasional twinges.


I'm starting to get a more regular exercise program going. The Pilates class is going so well that I'm going to sign up for the Mat 2 class starting in March. Both Tim and I agree that I've been getting a lot of benefits from it and should continue. I've also been reading Get With the Program by Bob Greene (Oprah's trainer), and have started to follow that program as well. Right now, I'm in Phase 1. I've completed some journaling exercises, and I'm making sure I drink at least 6 glasses of water each day. Most days, I drink more than that. He also has a series of "functional exercises" that I've completed three days this week. The fourth day, I went to a makeup Pilates class.

I had let my weight go after getting my diagnosis, but I'm working on getting back to a healthy weight. More importantly, I'm just working on being healthier in general. If I exercise, I can cut down on the fatigue and pain and be better prepared to get through each day.

Monday, February 03, 2003

Well, I got through the business trip just fine, only to turn around and head right back out of town for a funeral. And then when I got back to town, another funeral. Needless to say, I was exhausted by all of that. Tim gave me my shot right before we left town. I vegged out in the car, but I wasn't myself the whole day. I just laid in the guest room and tried to nap. I felt like a new person the next day. Everyone was quite understanding of my situation, and that helped me a lot.

Since I've been back, I've been trying to get back into some routine and take care of myself. I did have a follow-up appointment with the neurologist. MS-wise, I'm doing fine and not showing any active symptoms at this point. I've just got some other health issues that I need to be addressing right now. Like most folks who make New Year's Resolutions, I put "losing weight" on the list. The doctor ordered blood work, and we know that my thyroid is not causing my weight gain or fatigue.

This weekend was much calmer. I did have to work on Saturday, but I didn't get up early. On Sunday, I decided not to set an alarm, and I woke up at 11am! My body needed the rest.

So I'll be starting some new medicine in the next week that will hopefully alleviate some of the other health stuff. On the downside, I might have trouble sleeping on this new drug. Oh, great. I woke up at 4:45 this morning and couldn't go back to sleep, so the last thing I need is a drug that could cause even more nights like that. We'll see how things work out. On the plus side, my doctor thinks it could help with some of the hip pain I've been having. That would be a welcome relief, since my yoga tapes and Pilates mat classes aren't getting it done on their own.

Another plus doctor is quite optimistic when it comes to my future mobility. I know he can't say with certainty that I'll never have problems, but it's sure nice to know that he thinks it's going to be less likely in my case. After all, each case of MS is different, and there are such a variety of symptoms.

I'm working on getting some routines in place to help me chip away at my long "To Do" list. There's a cool website called FlyLady that talks about creating order out of chaos. I've been reading for a long while and doing things haphazardly, but now I'm going to be more diligent. I'm starting off by creating simple morning and evening routines, and I'll also try to spend at least 15 minutes per day decluttering.

I'm also getting my "To Do" list better organized, thanks to the computer. We had to get a new one earlier this month, and I've tried to take advantage of it. Our old one was so slow that it didn't help me out to try and use software, spreadsheets, etc. to get organized. This one is much faster, and has been quite useful already. Once I finish setting up our finances and some other stuff on it, I'll be ready for some major computer-geek fun. Yeah, I know, not everyone thinks that sort of stuff is fun. But I enjoy it.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Time to register another first - my first business trip since my diagnosis.

I couldn't go just anywhere. I had to go to New the dead of winter...during a cold snap. What a rude awakening to hear "It's zero degrees outside" when my alarm went off this morning. I was a bit nervous about this trip. I'm completely on my own. Granted, I did this all the time when I was consulting. But then, I didn't know about the MS. It's different when you throw an illness into the loop.

And how's it going? Fine. I'm staying in a delightful inn in Westborough, MA where I feel pampered. The room is huge and toasty, with a couch and plenty of room for my yoga mat. And there's a full kitchen downstairs, so I don't have to go out at night in the ghastly cold. Funny, when I'm home, I love to go out to eat, but in this weather, I much prefer hanging out at the inn, munching on a rotisserie chicken. The only nerve-wracking part was trying to find the inn that first night. Note to self: Print out the freakin' directions from the Internet before going on any trip. I made fun of the van driver who couldn't get a college group to LaGuardia Airport, but yet I neglected to get my own directions this trip.

I have made some concessions for my illness, but nothing too drastic. I prepaid for gas for the rental car. That way, I don't have to worry about finding a gas station in downtown Boston by myself after dark in below-zero windchills when I'm in a hurry. It's worth not having to deal with that stress. And I bought a bunch of water bottles at the grocery store yesterday, so that I can keep myself properly hydrated. Then there's my shot - I moved that out to Saturdays, just in case I have a problem getting home from this trip. Since they're calling for snow in NC tonight and tomorrow, I'm glad I've taken that precaution. I also left room in my carry-on bag for an extra change of clothes and my toothbrush, in case I get to call Logan Airport my home-away-from-home tomorrow night.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

It's snowing. Not as much as I would like, but it is snowing. I feel like a 7-year-old, hoping enough snow falls that school will be cancelled. I have a feeling I'm going to be disappointed.


I've been having a lot of fun with my Pilates classes. I went to my second mat class this week. I have a lot of work to do, but I plan to practice a lot while I'm on my business trip next week.

Last night, I had a private equipment session. Pilates equipment looks like a cross between a torture chamber and a bed designed by Tim Burton. Between the challenge of the springs' resistance and the helpful trainer offering assisted stretching, I got a major workout. When I was in some of the positions, I thought, "Didn't they consider this torture during the medieval times?" But it felt wonderful. I've got two more sessions on my package, and then I have to figure out a way to be able to afford some more.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003


They used to tell people with MS to take it easy. Exercise? Oh no, that just stresses the body...and you're dealing with enough stress, you poor thing.

Well, no more. Evidence is showing that exercise is quite good for people with MS. It's a way to reduce stress and fatigue, as well as improve strength and flexibility. I was exercising quite regularly before I knew I had MS, but then I joined the Slacker Club. I was just too ticked off at my body to make time for exercise, since, after all, I had been exercising and got sick anyway.

I'm getting back into the routine. During a Junior League silent auction, I picked up a Pilates package which includes some classes, some private equipment sessions, and a massage. I went to the first class last week, and I'm going to sign up for the whole 10-week beginning session. I think it will do me some good, especially helping to strengthen my back. My first private equipment session is tomorrow. And I haven't forgotten about the massage - I never would! - I'm just saving that.

I work in a different building now (same company, they just moved my group), and am literally down the hall from a workout room. So I have no excuse. I went yesterday after work and had a grueling session on the elliptical trainer. The problem is, it was too grueling, and now I'm run down. I forgot the cardinal rule for people with MS and for people resuming an exercise program after a long layoff:

Don't push too hard too fast.

I overdid it, and I'm paying for it. Sometimes when I push too hard, my right leg goes numb below the knee. Other times, I just get tired. No numbness this time, but I was one majorly tired puppy afterwards (and still am). On the plus side, I slept beautifully last night.

MS Events

This is a busy week on my MS Society chapter's schedule. On Thursday, there's the Working Women's luncheon and the monthly meeting of the self-help group. On Saturday, there's a conference for newly diagnosed from 9am to 3pm.

I'm going to lunch, but that's it. I've been to so many events over the past several months that I really feel like I'm pretty up-to-date on the news, research, information, etc. And I don't think it hurts for me to put a little distance every once in awhile. I don't want to bog my thoughts down so much into focusing on MS that I forget about the other things in my life.

This week is certainly a busy one, even without those events. I had a board meeting last night, Pilates class tonight, Junior League meeting tonight, and a Pilates exercise session tomorrow. Amidst all of this, I also have to get ready for my business trip next week. That trip is a big reason I'm staying home on Saturday. I'll need the time to do laundry, pack, and basically get things done so I don't feel overwhelmed before I get on the plane. And now the weathermen are saying we might get some winter weather on Friday. Hello???? What part of already busy is so hard to understand here?

Insurance Issues

Well, my company changed medical insurance providers, effective 1/1/03. Given the headaches I had getting my medicine and coverage straightened out in the first place, I was understandably nervous about this. I was reassured, though, when I saw all of my doctors listed as part of their network, and when I saw Avonex and the other MS drugs listed on their Preferred drug list for prescriptions. This meant that I'd get the lower copay and shouldn't have to worry about getting my medicine. I notified the delivery service that my insurance was changing, and left it at that.

Until I got the phone call that it wouldn't be that easy.

Apparently, I needed to use a new delivery service to get my medicine - my insurance doesn't work with my current carrier. I panicked. Oh great, I'm going to get put through more hoops, and have to deal with the nightmares of bureaucracy again. How many times would I get hung up during this round of phone calls.

Relax. It turned out to be much easier than that. I called, and they were willing to arrange my next delivery date on the spot. Just like before, I'll have it waiting in my carport when I get home on the designated day. The only thing they needed that I couldn't give them right away was a prescription, and they gave me the contact numbers so my doctor's office could phone or fax the prescription directly to them.

So I had one hoop to jump through - but it was a small one, so that's OK.

Thursday, January 02, 2003


Like many folks, I made resolutions focused on improving my health during 2003. Had an interesting start to attempting to complete them, though.

I had gotten a talking pedometer at the MS Walk, but I had never taken the thing out of the box. Well, like a good resolution maker, I took it out yesterday and programmed it. I programmed in my step length and set the clock. 6am, I realized I should have turned off the alarm. It was weird waking to a mechanical voice saying, "The time is 6am. Your alarm was set for 6am." Luckily, I had planned to get up at 6am anyway.

So I'm getting ready, and I drive to work. As I turn the corner to my office, I notice the pedometer is no longer hooked to my waist. Dang it, I lost the thing already. Nope, it had just slipped off and was beside me on the seat. But as I'm walking into the office building...plop. It falls in the parking lot. Let's just say, it won't be doing any more talking.

I do have another talking pedometer that I got in a goodie bag. Let's see if this one can survive for more than 2 hours. If not, then I'll have to return to the mute version.

New Year's Eve Celebration

Well, it was the same...but different. Yes, I went out and partied. I danced like a crazy fool. I drank champagne and martinis and ate lump crabmeat. I stayed up until the wee small hours of 2003. And I had loads of fun.

It was a little different than last year, though. I started having back spasms early in the evening, but I danced through the pain. I refused to let this stupid disease mess up the party. And yeah, I got tired, but my friends were understanding when I said I had to take a break from dancing.

At 11pm, there was a Caribbean party, to celebrate New Year's in Barbados. This included fireworks on the veranda. It was too foggy to see much, but the temperature was absolutely delightful. I took a number of dance breaks out on that veranda during the evening - perfect way to avoid overheating.

I knew I would pay for it the next day, but I didn't have the traditional reveler's hangover. No, I was just very tired and had to take it easy all day.

MS News

Opened up my newspaper this morning to find out about some promising results published in the New England Journal of Medicine for a drug called Antegren. I had heard of it before from my neurologist. Since I am still of child-bearing age and have not committed to not getting pregnant, we decided I shouldn't start taking it - put as little medicine in my body as possible for the time being. Of course, the big news for my local paper was that it could be manufactured right here in the good ol' Research Triangle Park.

For more information, check out:
Test drug may mean new treatment for MS, Crohn's

Blog News

I'm probably going to play with a new template over the next few days, since it's been months since the Pooch Parade. Stay tuned for a new look for a new year.