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Seeing the World Through Different Eyes

Blog Summary

Everything was just a tad off focus– like I couldn’t get my eyes to look forward no matter how hard I tried. I asked my mom for advice, not thinking anything of it. She figured it was allergies, gave me an Allegra and sent me on my way after I convinced her I didn’t need to see a doctor; I felt better after that. My eyes returned to normal, life went on. I left for college two days later. Turns out, I wasn’t fine and things did not go back to normal. About a week into my sophomore year, I woke up one morning and had no control over my left arm. I found this out when I went to put my contact lenses in the morning of my first day of work, at my first real job, and my hand shot right past my face. I thought it was weird, but assumed I was just tired or having a “me moment.” So, off to work I went...

MS: The Third Wheel in Our Marriage

Blog Summary

As I helped my husband, Norm, out of bed, I couldn’t help but think to myself: how did we get here?   It’s hard to even remember the people we were when we first meet in 2006. They seem like completely different people from a completely different time. A time when motorcycles, weekends filled with friends and family and simplicity moved our world...

Lessons Learned as a Doctor Turned Patient

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As a family doctor and self-proclaimed health nut, I thought I’d never get sick. Although I saw patients every day with unexpected illness, with the right combination of a vegetarian diet + obsessive hand-washing + exercise + adequate sleep, I thought I would live to be 100. I knew the secret ingredients, the formula, for avoiding chronic disease.And then, nine years ago, I woke up dizzy. I thought I was getting a cold that would pass in a few days. But instead of a sore throat and cough, I developed double vision and taste changes...

Finding the Silver Lining

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Six summers ago, I was a broke artist living in her first NYC apartment. I was smoking, living on crackers and coffee, and refused to pay for an air conditioner and the bill that would come with it.   I lived on the 3rd floor, and it was hot—so, so terribly hot. Although I never liked the heat, it was different this time: I would sleep with bags of frozen peas because my body was so uncomfortable. Every movement felt like my limbs were on fire and being attacked by pins and needles, but I ignored it. I told myself it was due to not eating properly and that I wasn’t getting enough sleep. Then one day I tried to look at my toes, and I felt like I got zapped with lightning. I ignored that, too. I ignored all the weird things that happened because I kept telling myself it was a pinched nerve...

Dear Me

Blog Summary

Dear Me, of three years, nine months, and 15 days ago: Your life just changed. Changed from six weeks ago before this all started. Changed from 5 a.m. this morning when Mike woke up, left side completely numb and decided to drive himself to the ER so you could get the kids off to school. Changed from an hour ago when you were sitting alone, nervously waiting for him to be out of the MRI...

Not Pre-Existing

Blog Summary

I can still remember the very last time I called to schedule a blood donation. Donating blood was something I used to do regularly—it was a way I could give back.   But, this particular call was the first time I tried to donate after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. And that day, I learned a brand new phrase: “permanent deferral.” It’s an odd phrase, really, and full of a harsh finality...

MS, Climate Change and Kiribati

Blog Summary

The date was October 24, 2007. It was my second year at the University of Pittsburg’s Anthropology Ph.D. program when MS hit. Within minutes of arriving at the school’s Halloween festival, I lost my vision, ability to talk and walk. Rushed to the hospital, I was diagnosed with MS and placed on a disease-modifying therapy, Avonex, within hours.​..

Dealing with Literal Loneliness

Blog Summary

Being diagnosed with MS at any age is never fun, but when you’re a young person diagnosed with MS, it seems to change more in your mind than just myelin!   I was diagnosed at just 22 years old. When I came out of the hospital after my diagnosis, I had to confront what seemed like a new life...

My Resolution

Blog Summary

The holidays can be a difficult time for those living with MS. Some of us struggle with travel, or with the reminder that relationship dynamics change, and having to work double time to keep symptoms in check during flu and party seasons.   So with the start of the new year, it’s the perfect time for reflection, to gather ourselves and to perhaps  make some New Year’s resolutions...

Control Freak

Blog Summary

It has taken me a decade to admit that yes, I am a control freak. From wanting the bed made every morning, to checking in three times to see if my husband followed my to-do list when dropping off the baby at daycare:  I have accepted the truth that I am not as laid back as I pretend to be.  I realize it can be a funny or endearing term, but I also know from experience there is a deep-seeded anxiety that lives in all of us control freaks. “If I don’t have the control then I am in danger.” ...

Letter to my daughter

Blog Summary

The night after your 7 month birthday, you and I were alone in the home. That evening, I would breastfeed you for the last time. I sobbed, Naya. I desperately begged my body to file away and remember the feeling of feeding you, knowing inevitably I would forget how it felt the moment we were finished. And so I was mad. I was mad I had this disease. I was mad that I had to take these medicines. I was angry that the choice of when I was done feeding you was being ripped from me and no longer on our terms. Knowingly, you instantly pulled away from me and looked up at my face, perplexed. So I sat you up on my lap, each one of your tiny legs wrapped around my waist. And I spoke to you. Really spoke, for the first time in your life...