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The Long Walk to the Coffee Shop

Blog Summary

My rollator walker is my freedom. There’s no question about that. It allows me to observe the world while I’m walking instead of constantly looking down to avoid pebbles or cracks that might (and do) send me reeling.

Liberating as it is, the rollator has its drawbacks. It’s big and bulky, and it’s forever a challenge to figure out where to stow the dang thing when I’m at a concert or in a restaurant. And when I’m walking down the sidewalk, I’m often either parting crowds or zig-zagging to get out of people’s way...

Self-Advocacy

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Are you kidding me? Another $749 out-of-pocket… just for lab tests? It was another unexpected medical bill, even more irritating than usual because I had called the lab before the test was done to clarify the cost. The lab had assured me I would pay no more than $200, even if my insurance company failed to pick up the tab...

Don't Shed on Me!

Blog Summary

The students in my disability law class were expecting to have a guest speaker that evening. But they were surprised and delighted when not only did two guests enter the classroom, one of them was of the canine persuasion.   I believe the best way to teach the law is for students to see it in action. And that evening, they learned about an organization called “Canine Companions for Independence,” a nonprofit group that trains dogs to assist people with disabilities. As the students observed, Eliza the service dog, was able to help her owner, a wheelchair user, in a variety of ways. Among other things, she retrieved coins and other small objects, opened the door and even pulled her owner’s wheelchair...

One Step at a Time

Blog Summary

When I got diagnosed with MS at the age of 17, I was overcome with so many questions and emotions. I found myself at a fork in the road: I could either let the diagnosis stop me in my tracks and control my life, or I could take it head on with determination, faith and courage, and not let it stop me from living the life I desired. ​ MS can often feel like a daunting obstacle we face daily, but at the end of the day we will conquer it… one moment, one day at a time...

Wheelchair Barbie

Blog Summary

Okay, I’ll admit it–on some level I wanted to look like Barbie. Even though I intellectually knew she wasn’t real and didn’t resemble any person I knew, that skinny piece of painted plastic still had the power to make me feel woefully inferior. There was something about her silent perfection that could not help but scream “pretty,” “hip” and “athletic” to me, especially when she was dressed up to go hiking or roller-blading with the ever-hunky Ken. Of course, every child goes through something like this. And because I did not develop MS until well into adulthood, I at least did not have the additional burden of incorporating a cane, a walker or a wheelchair into my developing self-image. That would only have made things more difficult and infinitely more confusing...

Sometimes “Political Correctness” Just Means Seeing People for Who They Are

Blog Summary

My neighbor and I have been friends for 30 years. I have no doubt that she holds me to a high regard, as I do her. But when she asked me if I had a hard time being “crippled,” I literally felt a chill run through my body.    I have MS, and I use a cane or walker to get around. In my mind, that does not make me “crippled.” But even if I was unable to walk at all without a mobility device, I would still feel uncomfortable being referred to by that term. It conjures up an image of helplessness that is not only inaccurate, but robs me of my dignity...

There are Two Sides to the Disabled Permit Coin

Blog Summary

Isn't it amazing how a piece of card with your picture on can be the biggest help, yet the biggest hindrance at the same time? From the perspective of a 20-something-year old who doesn't need a wheelchair, but still has a disabled permit, the following is what generally goes down...

Myths and Realities of the ADA

Blog Summary

The Internet is indeed a mixed blessing. The good news is that there’s an amazing amount of information out there. The bad news is that there’s an amazing amount of information out there. As an individual with multiple sclerosis, I have of course surfed the web, looking for answers. Once I learned how to separate the truthful and credible information from the wacky and even dangerous stuff, I learned a great deal...

Disabled to Enabled

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How does the term “disabled” make you feel?   For some people, it might be an easy transition. It might feel right for you, and if that is you, that’s okay...

The Zen of MS

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That’s what we’re all looking for, isn’t it? The truth is, when you find your zen, it is much easier to heal. I don’t mean heal in the sense of “find a cure,” but rather in the sense of “I am happy with my life and feel like I am the best person that I can be, disease or not.” I’m confessing to you that I’m the latter...

The Invisible Illness

Blog Summary

Sometimes, MS is one of those diseases that is nearly impossible to hide. Whether we walk with a gimp or we use a wheelchair, it’s hard to act like it isn’t there. On the hard days, all I hear is “are you alright?” “do you need assistance?” or “what’s wrong with you?” On the hard days, I just want to disappear. On the easy days, I am just like everyone else–my disease is invisible, and I am unstoppable. This is awesome, right? Maybe to me and the people who know me, but to the people completely outside of my circle, I am just seeking attention because I don’t have a “real” illness. Each and every one of us works hard to function at our best–whether it be for a wedding or just walking down the block. We don’t want MS getting in the way. We train, we practice, and we gather up all of the courage we have to make that goal a reality and when it happens, it’s truly an amazing feeling! But what feeling is more powerful–the feeling of finally having what feels like an MS-free day, or the feeling of discouragement when someone accuses you of not really being sick?...