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.