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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.​..

It's Time

Blog Summary

Have you ever had a moment where you realize, “it’s time?” Time to make a change and let go of the past? When I was 10 years old, I had my first job delivering newspapers...

Turning Adversity into Opportunity

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When you’re faced with an adverse situation, there are three ways to look at it: a problem, a challenge or an opportunity. A problem is something that festers—it negatively affects your life. A challenge is a struggle that you must overcome. Now, looking at those two options, it would seem there’s nothing but gloom and doom when you’re faced with a troubling news. But there is another way to look at it...

Employment and MS

Blog Summary

For many of us, our careers define a large part of our identities. Conversely, an MS diagnosis can put a wrench in how we view and think of ourselves in the workforce. As an unpredictable disease, MS can have varying effects on a person’s ability to work—whether an individual can continue to do the same kind of work, or even work at all. Most people are diagnosed with MS between the ages of 20 and 50—their prime career years. At this age, many people have already completed their advanced training and education, and they’ve been working and moving up the career ladder...

Dear Scholarship Donor

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It is with eyes full of tears and a heart full of gratitude that I write this letter. I am a 35-year-old mom of two children, Jason and Jocelyn. When they were born, I was working while pursuing a degree in business administration. However, when my youngest was about six months old, I was taking her for a walk when my legs began to feel heavy and I fell. I began a two-year journey of testing and seeing specialists, with no answers until I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2012. I knew my children were growing up. They were so full of life and I felt like my life was being sucked from me one nerve cell at a time...

Chachkies in the Wind

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One  ruler. One hand sanitizer.One blue toothbrush.  About a dozen finance and management books. Various key chains.91 cents… It’s not often you stop to truly take stock of your current job, but that’s what happened in the Fall of 2011 when multiple sclerosis unceremoniously ended my career. There were no retirement parties, goodbye emails or farewell meetings. It’s almost as if I disappeared mysteriously into the night.  Not long after my title shifted from “Director” to “Long-Term Disabled” I received two large boxes in the mail from my former employer. In each was an assortment of odds and ends that had been in my work space. Day after day, I was surrounded by these things…

What if I can't work?

Blog Summary

From the very beginning of the Unspeakable Bits blog, I have written from the premise that information is the counter to fear. I believe that wholeheartedly, and while it is sometimes difficult to face ugly facts about living with multiple sclerosis, I’d rather look at them than hide from them. One of the most difficult aspects of living with MS comes if we can no longer work due to our disease. There are loads of resources out there to help us decide when to disclose (or not). The government especially wants to help us stay employed. But even with rehabilitation counseling, we may get to a place where we just cannot work any longer. Because society often seems to value what we do more than who we are, this point in one’s life can be particularly difficult...

Winning

Blog Summary

Every adolescent boy has a different answer to the age-old question, “What do you want to do with your life?” But boys grow into men and some of their dreams, although never forgotten, adjust to new realities. I might impress my 6-year-old son with how far I can throw a football, but NFL material I am not (and never was). I’m not really a fan of Oreo cookies anymore and the idea of running my own pizza joint lost most of its luster many years ago.