"Inappropriate Momma, Recently Diagnosed REDNECK, MS Survivor, Keeper of Spanky


Today on my way home from the gym, I got to thinking…..I am a HUGE believer in exercise – whether it be training for a marathon (so NOT ever going to be me,) playing sports, hitting the gym for cardio & strength and training, taking a walk or a hike OR yoga and stretching, the health benefits for anyone are enormous! But for those of us with a disease like Multiple Sclerosis, that can wreak havoc and even destroy mobility it is even more important.  To keep those body parts that can move, moving and to maintain strength.  What works and doesn’t work will certainly dictate what you can or can’t do but I started thinking that there is plenty that we can learn from each other.  So I wanted to start a new segment on my blog…

Wednesday Workouts


Some weeks I will share my accomplishments for the week, others I may share a story from my past about fitting exercise into my post MS life, I may share a product, piece of equipment or specific exercise that I have found helpful and I hope to have some guest posts from other badass MS Warriors out there! I would LOVE to hear from you about your own experiences with trying to fit exercise into your “new” life!




Quote from book



I have ALWAYS worked out – it is just a part of who I am.  On my Segway Into My Life post I talk about the fact that prior to being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis I was running an average of 6-8 miles MOST days.  I also frequently swam (topped off at about 2 miles) and did lots of strength and core training.  Shortly after experiencing my first symptoms my walking and balance rapidly declined, and running (or even walking without my soon to be BFF, “Pinky” the cane) was out of the question.  But being in such good shape at the time most definitely helped me; I have no doubt that if I hadn’t had such a strong core things could have been WAY worse on the “stumbling around like a drunk” front.

I knew that I needed to keep it up, to keep my strength and endurance up as much as possible.  Initially the only form of exercise that I felt safe doing was swimming (can’t really fall down when in the pool:)  I became quite the oxymoron.  I would hobble into the pool area, with trusty “Pinky” at my side, awkwardly (and sometimes dangerously) manage down onto my butt at the pool’s edge, and kinda of fall forward into the pool (the only safe falling I was doing at the time!:)

Once in, immersed in the cool and quieting water, all my clumsiness and floundering were left behind.  I was able to swim, lap after lap, tied together in sequence by the flip-turns I had struggled as a child to master.  Back and forth I would continue, finding some of the first moments of silencing the damn voice of doubt (What I Hate Most About Having Multiple Sclerosis.) It made me feel good to know that I could still do something well, that I had found at least one thing that I didn’t have to do differently to accommodate the unwelcome guest of MS.

My time would be up, whether dictated by the pool hours or time constraints to pick the kids up from school (damn kids!) I would reach the end of my final lap, throw my swim cap and goggles on the edge and begin my less than stellar exit.  The initial act of doing so wasn’t too bad.  Supporting myself on the wall and using my arms I was able to easily pop up and get my ass onto the ledge.  That’s where the grace and beauty would end.  I always left Pinky laying there in wait for my exit, but it was almost inevitable that the pool deck was by then wet and getting up off your ass with just a cane and noodle legs on a slippery surface is never going to go well and is often going to go bad.

I would eventually make it back into the upright position to then begin my stumble back to the locker room, knowing that there had to be people staring in wonderment – how could someone that was just swimming like “that” then be so apparently physically challenged, as I “walked” away like I did.  I got it – I would probably wonder the same thing if it had been someone else, and not me.

I would eventually garner up enough courage to return to the gym to try and tackle new ways of doing things but I feel so fortunate that I had swimming as an option in those first months.  It allowed me to keep a little bit of myself in tact, while not threatening my safety.

Today’s visit….:)


Exercise and MS , Multiple Sclerosis , Multiple Sclerosis & Exercise , Uncategorized


I have shared stories about my divorce (MS & Divorce: Did MS End My Marriage) have told a bit about my “preparations” to re-enter the dating world as a 40 year old single mother of three (My Booty Call) and delved into the topic of sexual dysfunction and Multiple Sclerosis (Multiple Sclerosis & Sex: A Cure For My MS Symptoms.)  Although I tend to find the humor (reasons to laugh and smile) at the things that happen as a result of having this “fantastical” disease, I realize that each story I share is “my story” told from my perspective and shaped by my past and present experiences.

I love to have the opportunity to hear other’s stories and I love when I have one of those “EXACTLY!!!” moments, when I  hear something from someone else’s life that clicks with me.  Even though each of our lives is unique and MS is so different for each of us, there is that underlying thread that can be caught here and there, that ties us all together.  Whether male or female, young or old, single or married there are moments, thoughts and emotions that we have in common and I love finding them!

This past weekend, I had the honor of being a guest on the Mess with MS: Brain Injury Radio Network show, hosted by Lisa Dryer.  The topic of the show was M.S. and Relationships.  Lisa had six guests on the show – highlighting “Different people with different experiences of M.S. and Relationships.”  Each of the guest’s had their own story to share, living through different phases of life, with their own unique perspectives; currently going through the process of divorce (Belinda Oiler) , divorced (Kix Peace) and me, remarried & 30 weeks pregnant ((Suset Marcantoni) and a couple that both live with Multiple Sclerosis while raising their children (Jesse & Matt.)

****There are a few connection blips at the beginning but really worth the listen if you are wanting to hear from other MSers and their experiences in regards to relationships*****


Some of the questions that Lisa asks her guests include:


  • How has pregnancy been?
  • Do you have any worries or concerns for your children about Multiple Sclerosis?
  • Did you get into your relationship because you both have MS?
  • Do you think it helps your relationship that someone knows everything about MS?
  • Do you think about the fact that one of you might get really sick and the other one might not be able to care for the partner?
  • What happens when you feel you are being blamed for having MS?
  • How does everyone feel about how sexuality effects your relationship?
  • Has the panel ever experienced someone wanting to date them because (you) have MS and they are one of the people who chase people with disabilities?
  • As far as friendship, did you…experience losing friendship before you were diagnosed or after?
  • What is the relationship mistake…that you have experienced and that you wouldn’t do again?


Some of the awesome quotes from the show:


  • “I learned that it’s not me, it’s him.”
  • “We were both single parents, we were also single with MS, so it was difficult to date…but now we have leaned on each other and have so much in common that it just works.”
  • “For me, what I discovered is women like sex just as much as men.”
  • “There is something about having MS that matures you – because you grow to understand so much about yourself.”
  • “…at the end of my divorce, I made a booty call.  It scared me, but I wanted to know, if it didn’t work, was it the MS?  Was it him, or me? I just wanted to know before I got into a relationship or put myself out there.”
  • “I am in such a good, stable relationship and I am so thankful…”
  • “I pray that I find what y’all have one day.”
  • “You only live once and…you should do things that make you happy.  Be around people, be with someone that makes you happy.”
  • “You can’t let someone’s opinion of you ruin you day.  If someone doesn’t want to be with you because you have MS, then screw them.”

It was SUCH an awesome group of people and a great conversation!  I highly recommend you take the time to listen.  The great news is that there will be a PART TWO to this segment – so stay tuned for more great stories and words of inspiration!  I’ll let you know when it is scheduled to air!

I thought I would leave you with one final quote from the show – from the hostess with the mostest, Lisa Dryer.

“Marriage can be a wonderful thing, and tattoos can be fun.  But I wouldn’t recommend getting someone’s name tattooed across you chest.”

I am definitely planning to share these wise words with the three kids – especially Sam, given his newly discovered love of ink!







Disease & Divorce , divorce , living with a disease , living with MS , MS , MS & Divorce , MS & friends , Multiple Sclerosis & Relationships , parenting , Problems with Sex and MS , Relationships & MS , sex , sex and ms , single parent , Uncategorized




verb (used with object)


1.  to be uncertain about; consider questionable or unlikely; hesitate to believe.

2.  to distrust

3.  Archaic. to fear; be apprehensive about.

It wasn’t the diagnosis itself that had the greatest impact on me and my life.  I made adjustments to how I do things, figured out new ways to accomplish what needed to be done and flowed with the definition of the new me.  What I struggled with from the get go (and still do) is the doubt.  The voice in my head that jumped to the forefront, frequently overshadowing rational thoughts.  For the first time I began to worry about whether or not I could be who I wanted to be.

I grew up always believing that I could do whatever I set my sights on.  My parents nourished this belief, supporting me in whatever direction I decided to head.  Going off to college, spending a semester abroad, picking up and moving across the country, taking my first job, having and raising three kids – I never doubted that I could do it, that I could achieve my goals and ambitions.

Until the diagnosis.  Those first years, with so many major changes to my physical abilities and redefining who I was and how I got things done, I faced it all with the attitude of “it is what it is.”  But what also arrived was doubt.  A nagging and relentless voice that questioned every day, all the time, whether I would be able to do something.  The simplest of tasks – a trip to the grocery store – increased the voice’s volume – chanting the reminder “I have MS, I have MS.”  In chorus with this broadcast was the questions “Can I make it?”  “Will I have enough energy to get through the errand?” “Will I fall again this time?”  “What if I pee myself?”  The apprehension at times almost overwhelming.


The simple fact is that most of the time I can make it. I dredge up enough energy. I might fall, but I get back up, and a little pee hasn’t killed me yet.  These things (these new “normals”) aren’t what I hate the most; that I take issue with.  I hate that I question myself; my capability to do things, to believe in myself and my ability to succeed.  To be strong and independent and not feel that I need to have others there to help me at all times.

A lot has happened in my life over the past few years (Disease & Divorce: Did MS End My Marriage) and I am in a better place than I ever imagined.  I have three amazing children, a man that is grounded, goofy and kind who loves me unconditionally, a place that feels like home and a budding career that I am passionate about. The doubt is still there, but the voice has quieted a bit.  There are now trips to the store that I don’t think “I have MS” or worry about falling. Granted the pee thing is ALWAYS a possibility but even that seems to be a bit a little less frequent these days.

I can do a wonderful job of keeping myself up at night – allowing the voice back in and the doubt is quick to take over again.  It’s a simple given that I might wake up tomorrow in the midst of a relapse – where all the steps forward that I have made disappear and I am once again filled with doubt.  But for the moment, while I can, I am going to do my best to shut the stupid voice up and let myself believe again.  After all, anything is possible!

Thinking my new mantra should be…







embarrassing moments , Falling down with MS , living with MS , MS , MS Symptoms , Multiple Sclerosis , Uncategorized


Shortly after I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis I had a number of people send me articles about taking/eating Turmeric.  Also known as “Indian Saffron” Turmeric is a member of the Ginger (Zingiberaceae) family and is a prominent spice in many Indian dishes.  It has long been touted for it’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

 Having spent a fair amount of time over the weekend looking into the question “Does taking/eating Turmeric help with Multiple Sclerosis or symptoms from MS” I discovered that this question has been raised numerous times by plenty of people and many research studies are aimed at trying to answer just this.

In 2002 Dr. Chandramohan Natarjan and Dr. John Bright of Vanderbilt University tested mice afflicted with an autoimmune disease that has similarities to Multiple Sclerosis. The study aimed to determine whether the mice that got doses of Curcumin (the active compound in Turmeric) would fair better in regards to symptoms/complications brought on by the disease than the mice that didn’t get any Curcumin.  It turns out, the mice that received doses of Curcumin were notably better at the end of the 30 day trial!

More recently there was a study in Italy, which started in 2012 and was sponsored byMerck KGaA.

Dietary Supplement of Curcumin in Subjects With Active Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis Treated With Subcutaneous Interferon Beta 1a (CONTAIN) (Rebif)

From what I can gather from reading about this particular study they were trying to see if patients that were given Curcumin  experienced more benefits from Interferon Beta 1a (Rebif) and for a longer period of time.  The thought is that the Curcumin would increase the patient’s “bio-absorbability”- absorption of the drug into the bloodstream. According to this study has been completed (March 2016) but no results have been reported yet.  It will be interesting to see what (if anything) they learned.

Moving to more mainstream sources, I discovered that MANY people are talking about Turmeric and it’s medicinal properties.

Dr. Andrew Weil, M.D. editorial director at wrote an article in the Huffington Post that outlines some of the numerous research studies that are going on around the world and gives his advise on what to take and ways to add it to your daily routine.

After a shit ton of reading and exploring opinions on varying levels of belief and disbelief, I have come to my


Which is that I figure that adding Turmeric to my diet can’t hurt.  Actually I already use it as a spice in many of the dishes I prepare for Shawn and myself and the clan of teenagers that flow in and out of our house.

IF I happen to reap some benefits from doing so….then



So I decided to share some recipes that have Turmeric as an ingredient.  Some are my own, some I have tried and some I am looking forward to trying.  One thing that I did learn from all my research is that including black pepper in a recipe increases your body’s ability to absorb the Turmeric – which is HOW you can reap the benefits of this spice.

Do you have a great recipe that includes this “HEALTH HELPFUL” spice?



I would LOVE for you to share in the comments section!!!!



(CLICK on the recipe title to view)



Hearty Bean Soup

I don’t have any idea WHERE I got this recipe, it has been in my recipe book since college years (ANCIENT I know)  But THIS is truly delicious – originally I used to serve it with warm corn bread but the clan has determined that they like it better when I serve it with French baguettes or Ciabatta bread.

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

7-10 garlic cloves minced

1.5 tsp Turmeric

1 tsp curry powder

1 tsp Paprika

5 carrots peeled and sliced

1-2 bunches of scallions sliced

1 lrg (28 oz) can crushed tomatos

2 cups chicken broth (OR veggie broth works too)

2 cans (16 oz) pinto beans rinsed

10-14 oz cooked sausage (I use turkey but any kind will work) and I like to brown mine a bit before adding

1 Tbsp dry sherry

1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar & 1/2 Tbsp water

2 Bay leaves

2 cups dark greens (chard, escarole, Kale, collard greens)

1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped

salt & pepper

sour cream

Heat oil over low/med heat, cook garlic & spices for 1 minute, then add the carrots & scallions and saute for 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, broth, beans, sausage, sherry (or apple cider vinegar/water mix) bay leaf , salt & pepper (to taste)  Bring to high simmer then lower heat and gently simmer 45 minutes – 1 hour.  Add greens & parsley.  Simmer 15-20 minutes more until the greens are cooked and soft.  Serve with a dollop (or 3!) of sour cream.


Turmeric Popcorn


There are actually 4 popcorn recipes from Nutrition Stripped found in this link.  I have only tried the Cinnamon & Sea Salt and the Turmeric Spiced but I look forward to trying the other two soon!


Turmeric Milk 

(also known as Golden Milk)




Kate at Real Food RN has other GREAT recipes and a beautiful blog!  You should check it out!

Coffee Turmeric Smoothie



THIS one from Erin at The Almond Eater looks SO good, I’m thinking of sending Shawn off to the store this evening to pick up some instant coffee (since it is the ONLY ingredient we don’t have) so I can try it in the morning!


Turmeric Coconut Smoothie



As Denise over at Sweet Peas and Saffron says – it is a anti-inflammatory POWERHOUSE!

Check out the PINTEREST page

Tumeric Smoothies

Lot’s to try!  Let me know if you find ones you like!

Tumeric Tea



32 Turmeric Recipes, the Wonder Spice Your Body Needs



PINTEREST is quickly becoming my best friend when it comes to finding new ideas of “WHAT TO COOK for DINNER!?!?”

My PINTEREST page for



has dozens that I have earmarked to try.



AND for those of you that want to go ALL IN with the Turmeric thing….

Daily Health Post tells you…

How to Grow Your Own Unlimited Supply of Turmeric At Home

They claim that it is…”Ridiculously Easy!”

Let me know how that goes!:)

I am NOT a doctor or qualified to offer medical advise.

SO as with ANYTHING you might take in addition to your prescribed medicines please check with your doctor before adding to your diet or routine

Complementary and Alternative Medicine , Diet and MS , living with MS , MS , MS Research , Multiple Sclerosis studies , Rebif , Turmeric , Uncategorized


Just like I am a work in progress, learning about & living with MS is an on-going process.



According to Healthline:

Some people with multiple sclerosis (MS) can feel their symptoms worsen when they become overheated. When elevated body temperature impairs vision, it’s called Uhthoff’s phenomenon. Uhthoff’s occurs because of damage to the optic nerve, which interferes with the transmission of signals between the eye and the brain. Symptoms include blurry or reduced vision.

Uhthoff’s phenomenon is often one of the first signs of MS. Sometimes called “Uhthoff’s syndrome” or “Uhthoff’s sign,” the condition is named for William Uhthoff (1853-1927), a German professor of ophthalmology.

Although I have been fortunate enough to avoid many of the vision problems that can stem from having Multiple Sclerosis – I DID manage to tick this box off.  I first began noticing something was wrong when I was at the gym working out.  I would arrive, seeing things JUST FINE.  If you were to walk up to me as I frantically peddled myself to NOWHERE on the elliptical trainer in the first 5-10 minutes, I would greet you with a hardy hello and ask about the family or work or whatever it was that we have in common.  Just like any other time that we have run into one another….

BUT…if you were to approach me AFTER those first few moments…I would still greet you with a huge hello – followed by an awkward silence OR a lame inquiry about some general topic in the hopes that YOUR response would clue me in to who the fuck I am talking too.  Because, as I stand tall on the machine trying to go faster and faster or achieve some crazy “interval training” course, I start sweating and my body temperature starts to rise.  AND in direct correlation, my vision goes to shit!  Not just some of the time, but EVERY TIME that my body begins to overheat.  Doesn’t matter WHERE or WHAT I am doing  – it is just a guaranteed in my life now.



Announcing this to friends and family, it is understandable that some might be a bit alarmed….what IF I am driving just AFTER finishing a workout? OR on a super hot day, when I have just spent the afternoon standing on the sidelines of some soccer field in the relentless summer sun?  HOW can I feel safe driving?

 Here is the deal.  FIRST: the MINUTE my body temperature goes back down, my vision comes back.  SO cranking the A/C does wonders.  BUT more importantly EVEN if I HAVE to drive BEFORE this happens, I can still SEE things, just not specific features or details.  SO if I were at a stoplight and someone were crossing the street, I can’t tell if it is YOU, my 18 yr old son or an 80 year old lady BUT, I  do know that SOMEONE is indeed crossing the street.

So have no fear people – NOT going to be plowing down grandma anytime soon.

Of course, as with any other “wonderful” symptoms that comes with this “fantastical” disease – whether it be falling down or constipation & bowel dysfunctions, falling asleep on the potty, or issues with sex ….I have stories.

I figured I would share one of my”hot moment” favorites:

It is a sunny summer day in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.  The kids and I had packed up and headed out fairly early in the morning to spend the day with a good friend and his kids at their pool club.  Although I have just made it perfectly clear that doing anything that raises my body temperature messes up my vision (and heightens any other symptoms I am experiencing) this does NOT mean that I will turn down the opportunity to lounge poolside, soaking up the VITAMIN D and working on a tan.

As we sat, chatting away, catching each other up on all the news in our lives, a head popped up on the side of the pool about 10 feet from where I lay.  Being the EVER diligent mom, I was keeping a constant eye on the kids while they frolicked away. (Ok, maybe NOT frolicked, cause I am pretty damn sure NONE of them have EVER frolicked but goofing off and taking turns pushing each other into the pool.)

So a head pops up and I hear “momma, can you throw me the goggles?”  Without missing a beat in our conversation, I quickly reached into the side pocket of the enormous bag that I had schlepped in, pulled out one of the dozen pairs of goggles that we seem to have amassed (I fear that there MIGHT have been a bit of thievery going on at some point because I sure as hell don’t remember BUYING that many pairs) and flung them at the bobbing head at the side of the pool.  Job well done by the EVER attentive momma….

Until my friend leans over and says “honey, why did you do that?”  My response was “because Piper wanted a pair of goggles.”  (That being my then 8 yr old BLONDE haired DAUGHTER.)  To which he responded….”OK…..but you DO know that you just gave a little BLACK BOY your goggles….?”


The good news is that the little boy DID bring them back to me later in the day, AND was super polite and thanked me for sharing:)  Yet another “life lesson” for the kids –

“Always SHARE….even if you don’t know WHO THE FUCK you are sharing with.”




Although I wrote this post last week, as I was working on finalizing it to go live, I ran across some NEW information pertaining to Uhthoff’s phenomenon…which has led me to be completely SURPRISED and once again thinking….

GOD DAMN IT!!!…you THINK you know something about this “fantastical” disease….and then you find out that NOPE, pretty much don’t know SHIT!


According to VERY in an article b

(Updated May 06, 2016)

The Uhthoff phenomenon is a unique sign in multiple sclerosis characterized by a worsening of one or more MS symptoms when the body’s core temperature is elevated…In the Uhthoff phenomenon, scientists believe that heat worsens these already damaged nerve cells pathways, which exacerbates current MS symptoms. 

And here, all this time, I thought that the term Uhthoff’s phenomenon pertained to ONLY my vision problems when I am hot.  It’s what my doctor told me.  But according to this, it is actually referring to my sensitivity to heat and ALL of my symptoms worsening.  As I mentioned earlier in this post, my other symptoms DO get worse but I never knew that long long ago, this German professor’s discovery was addressing ALL my heat issues and not just my sight.



I guess you learn new shit all the time….it’s a process:)




dealing with disease , Heat Sensitivity , living with a disease , living with MS , MS , Multiple Sclerosis , Uhthoff's phenomenon , Uncategorized

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes but when we look back everything is different”

-C.S. Lewis



In 2007 my life changed forever when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. In 2011 I went through another big change, when I got a divorce. Since those two major life events I have had many people ask if I think that my divorce was because of my diagnosis or did getting MS cause my marriage to end? Although my gut reaction is to say no, I have spent plenty of time thinking about just this and now feel that I can try and answer that question. But in normal fashion – not a quick response as there is always the “back story.” When I think back to where I was and what I was doing six years ago, it is utterly impossible to believe how much has happened and how much my life has changed. In the spring of 2010 I asked my then husband, for a divorce; something that I never would have thought would “happen to me.” It took me a long time to understand that our marriage ceasing to exist was NOT a reflection of having failed. It didn’t mean that I failed MYSELF, it didn’t mean I failed my MARRIAGE and it didn’t mean I failed to DO something that would have saved the marriage.

Actually, it meant the just the OPPOSITE. It meant that I had succeeded in finding the strength to speak up and and finally admit that feeling unloved and unsupported just wasn’t enough. I didn’t want to just “settle,” because I had to believe that there could be more; that written into my life’s story, could be a relationship with love and laughter, friendship and support. That I could find someone that would have my back and be my partner in crime through thick and thin.

It also meant that I had succeeded in being brave enough to stand up for myself and realize that even if I was making a decision to be alone, that it would be better than the constant disappointment and emptiness that my marriage created in my life. I discovered that I had the courage to be on my own and that alone sounded a hell of a lot better than always feeling lonely and hoping that MAYBE someday it would be different. Because it never was.

When I was diagnosed, there was actually a part of me that was HOPEFUL. That perhaps THIS was the life event that would shake things up in our marriage and then dump us back down on an even and new playing field. That wasn’t the case. It was also not the case that my diagnosis was the cause of the marriage ending. My living with the disease, and seeing HOW I reacted and dealt with all the changes is what made me realize that somewhere along the way I had lost myself, that I was not living out being the person I was meant to be. Being able to embrace the fact that having MS was NOT an “Oh Fuck moment” is what allowed me to start on my journey to living a life that is about ME and those people in my life that REALLY matter.

I recently ran across something I wrote in a profile on one of my social media accounts. I describe myself, my life, and discovering WHAT it is that really matters:

Living with MS has forced me to decide what REALLY matters; to constantly ask the question “is this worth my time and energy?” I work to fill my life with only the BEST of things. I try to make each moment count and strive to strengthen the relationships that do make the “cut” and are still there when the dust settles. THOSE are the things and the people that MATTER and although being diagnosed with a chronic disease might have forced me into an unexpected “purge” of time sucks and energy drains it leaves me with the best of the best – the things that COUNT. MOVING FORWARD I plan on appreciating what remains and what I have gained, rather than wasting time thinking about what was lost.


MS gave me the strength to finally pull the plug and leave unhappiness behind. I loved being a stay at home mom to my three amazing children and had great friends but I always knew that there should be more to a relationship than what my ex and I had – just “coexisting” under one roof. There was no intimacy, friendship or expressions of support or love. For all of the unknowns about living with MS and all the volatility that I might encounter in the future, I needed to surround myself with people that loved me and who would be there to help when and if I needed it. I realized that I was already going through it all feeling alone, and that I would rather just KNOW that I needed to rely on myself rather than always HOPING that MAYBE something would change and that I would feel loved. I needed to put on my “big girl panties” and not only survive whatever shit the disease threw at me but to find the reasons to laugh and smile through it all. The irony that being diagnosed with MS actually helped me be STRONG enough to finally move forward and BRAVE enough to believe in myself is not missed by me. It is a given that having MS can lead to a life with chronic symptoms, overwhelming fatigue and render some immobile. Yet it forced me to make a move and push for my life to be better.

Physically, my life changed drastically in a short period of time. I went from running 6-8 miles 6 days a week to needing to use a cane or my Segway to get to the bus stop at the end of the block. I relied on wall-walking to get around in the house and had more than one tumble down the stairs as I tried desperately to continue what I had always done and NOT let the disease or it’s symptoms get the best of me. But the biggest change was emotional. I had succumbed to the idea that my story was already written; that a life of living with someone that was more like a roommate than a partner and often times feeling like a single parent was just the way that my life would be. But MS showed me that the unexpected can certainly happen.

So I asked and we began the whole bullshit process of paying lawyers stupid amounts of money to determine what our new lives would look like. I truly believed that I had already gone through the emotional baggage that comes with walking away from a “KNOWN” situation (no matter how unhappy one is, it is always going to be challenging to face and accept change.) It turns out, not so much. I had a much longer journey to “freedom” and truly re-finding myself than I had anticipated.

I read somewhere that it takes two years to recover from a divorce if you DON’T have children and five if you do. In my case, perhaps that is true…I ran across a bit about divorce from comedian Louis C.K. on Huffington Post 

“Divorce is always good news. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true because no good marriage has ever ended in divorce. That would be sad. If two people were married and … they just had a great thing and then they got divorced, that would be really sad. But that has happened zero times.” -Louis C.K.

THIS is SO DAMN true. It might be the case that one party doesn’t KNOW that the marriage sucks and is surprised, but really IF the other party is unhappy/unfulfilled enough so to want a divorce, it doesn’t seem as if that would be indicative of a “good marriage.”

Fast forward to today and I am filled with such an enormous sense of happiness and joy that it is hard for me to put into words. This leg of the never ending, crazy ass journey to find myself and rediscover what I need and value most seems to be coming to an end. For years I never really felt like I was home. The last years of my marriage were filled with stress and anxiety and I didn’t feel relaxed or comfortable living there. Then there was the transitional period when I lived in an apartment for the three days that the kids were with my “wusband” and then I would move back to the house for the nights that they were with me. This act of “house juggling” continued until I fully moved out and bought a house of my own.

I loved my new house and loved that the kids and I quickly began making memories in our new home. BUT I was also lucky enough to have met Shawn at about the same time and so from the early days of buying my house, I spent most of my “non-kid” nights over at his house. For the past 5 years I have lived in two places and managed two households. I can’t even begin to tell you how frustrating it is to THINK that I had JUST bought a shit ton of toilet paper and head to the pantry ONLY to discover that it was actually at Shawn’s house where I had stocked up.

Each and every week on Wednesday mornings after dropping the kids off at school I would return to my house, to clean, pack up all the leftovers and remaining groceries, meds, computer, bills and whatever other shit I felt I MIGHT need, then hop in the car with Spanky and head over to Shawn’s. Granted it is less than 15 miles away (13.4 to be exact) and it was easy enough to pop back over should I have needed something but thanks to my “must always be prepared and have everything and anything I should might need or want” mentality, this weekly migration south ALWAYS entailed a packed car schlepping back and forth between houses.

This spring, Shawn and I made the decision to combine households. Truth be told, he has been wanting me to be there full time for a while but I needed more time to finish sorting things out in my mind and to recognize that I was ready to “cohabitate” with someone again. We spent months getting the house all ready to be put on the market; paired up with an AMAZING real estate agent (that also happens to be a kick ass friend) and listed it at the beginning of August. It sold quickly and we spent the next few weeks moving the final stuff out and into Shawn’s house and we are now waiting for the deal to close.

I thought it might be a bit weird at the beginning- having the kids here, living in what they have known as Shawn’s house. It seems I was wrong. They have quickly begun calling it home and we are already making some pretty damn good memories here at our NEWEST home. Although the plan is to finish remodeling this house, sell it and then combine our earnings to buy a “FOREVER HOME” together I am going to take advantage of having only ONE house to manage, ONE fridge to fill up and ONE mountain of laundry to tackle. I FINALLY feel like I am HOME – just where I should be with the people that matter the most in my life.

As I said – I have been asked a number of times if I believe that being diagnosed with MS is what led to or caused my divorce. I don’t think so. I think that it may have set the balls in motion, because it gave me a nudge to start this journey. I can’t really say whether or not that “ball disturbance” would have occurred should I have remained healthy,  I just know that it gave me the giant kick in the ass I needed. I have also been asked how my physical condition has improved so drastically and for such a long time (this December will mark my 6 year anniversary of NO cane and NO Segway!!!) I admit that I sometimes give the flippant response of “I got a divorce” but I think there is actually a ton of truth to it – more specifically a REDUCTION in stress. Beyond THAT – a significant INCREASE in smiles and laughter.

Long story short and as corny as it may sound – I seem to be living proof that a laugh (or two) a day, can do a damn good job of keeping the doctor away:)

“No one ever says, ‘Oh my divorce is falling apart. I just can’t take it.”  -Louis C.K.






Disease & Divorce , divorce , Follow Your Dream , living with MS , MS & Divorce , single parent

Hey all…back from my “winter break with the kids/parents visiting from out of town visit” hiatus.  I have good news and bad news.  The BAD NEWS is that I had a pretty bad fall.  Knees and palms were pretty shredded up, I may have a fucked up wrist -it hurts like hell to “move it like this” to which my kids promptly said, “well then DON’T move it like that!  They are SO helpful:)  Since my landing point was my check/side of face, I managed to get me a big ole bruise on my face.


The GOOD NEWS is that this fall had absolutely NOTHING to do with the MS.  I was out for a long walk with Spanky (our dog) and was actually aware of and appreciating how good a day it was (MS shit wise.).  We were still a good ways from home when dark storm clouds quickly rolled in and we were hit with one BIG ASS rainstorm.  I honestly don’t know if I have ever experienced going from not raining at all to torrential downpour that has you SOAKED within a minute.

Spanky has many unique and wonderful qualities but being a “water weenie” is NOT one of them.  A true bonified baby when it comes to getting wet.  One look out the front door; if he even sees that the pavement is wet he turns around and trys to go back inside. Not surprising then to hear that he was NOT a fan of this storm and the fact that we were both drenched to the bone in a hot minute.  He wanted to go home.  So I picked up my pace (with a quick nod to the fact that I was ABLE to do so) and continued on our way.  We probably would have made it, soaking wet, but safe and sound, if it hadn’t been the additional two little things Mother Nature decided to throw our way.  First, there was the hail.  To be more specific BIG ASS HAIL  that hurt like hell when they were pelting us.  And again…who knows….MAYBE my pour little “water weenie” and I would have made it home soaking wet and a bit sore from the BIG ASS frozen balls hitting us…but we will NEVER know.  Because that is when that BITCH (aka Mother Nature) decided to throw her final twist into the mix – the LOUDEST clap of thunder I think I have ever heard.  Although not normally phased by thunder or fireworks (or gunfire for that matter) that was the last straw for poor Spanky.  Sensory overload and he freaked out!  He first tried to bolt and then changed directions and cut directly across my path, putting his body directly in front of my “rapidly” moving body.  There wasn’t any question that I was going down.  All that remained a question was WHAT would hit the ground first and HOW BAD would it be.


Bad enough to instill in my body a fun little thing it likes to do whenever I fall because of the MS.  It’s called “let’s play paralyzed for a minute, or two, or ten or….” One of the things that I am trying to learn is to actually stop and allow myself to appreciate what I am accomplishing these days since it is so much more than in the past while living with MS.

In my first years with the diagnosis my mobility declined very rapidly and I went from running 6-8 miles 6 days a week, to needing to be on the Segway to manage the block and a half to the kids bus stop in less than a year.  One of the most annoying (aka SHITTY) things about this “fantastical” disease is you DON’T know what tomorrow will be like.  HELL there are times that you don’t even know what the later part of a given day might bring about.   Although I have thought I was welcoming and embracing the improvements in both mobility AND symptoms that I have experienced, I realized that I am not REALLY and TRULY allowing myself to accept or enjoy it.

Part of this is because I feel guilty saying anything, when I know that there are SO many others out there dealing with crap and experiencing things way worse than anything that I have yet to live through.  Another part of it is the not knowing (and believing) that this “feeling good” is going to last.  The truth is, it won’t.  Having another flair up, or experiencing more symptoms is inevitable because no matter how much better I might be doing or feeling, it doesn’t erase the fact that I happen to have MS and there doesn’t happen to be a cure for it.

Although I have improved immensely over the past 5 years I am constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop (OR should I say fall.)  To have MS swoop back in and take over my life again.  Have it become that all consuming thought that rings through my head over and over again…”I have MS, I have MS.” The doubt that comes hand in hand with that damn voice is FUCKING ANNOYING.  It’s message reminding me that I am NOT who I was before; that I am “marred” with this disease and maybe, just MAYBE I won’t be able to do something that I set out to do.  That “something” could be big, like traveling for 17 hours across the country with the three kids to visit my folks.  I  NEVER doubted my ability to be able to JUST DO IT before the MS…I just DID it.  But then with the diagnosis (and THE voice in my head) I began constantly worrying…will I make it through the trip without loosing a child, or maybe I won’t make it from the plane to the bus in time because I walk too slowly, or what if I fall down right smack dab in middle of an airport somewhere, with the “fun” paralysis I mentioned earlier, dropping in for a visit.  I used to have confidence in my ability to live my life; to feel in charge and know that I could do ANYTHING that I set out to do.  It seems that MS has dampened that resolve and because of that, it has stollen a bit of ME – who I AM and how I have always defined myself.

What I hate the most is that it took away my confidence in KNOWING that I could do things; that I could do ANYTHING I set my mind too.  This thing that arrived so suddenly and WITHOUT an invitation into my life managed in a fleeting moment to rob me of things that were core to the characteristics I would use to describe myself.  I lost my confidence and in turn then lost my independence.

I work at winning this battle.  I notice the improvements to my mobility and many of my symptoms,  but I am not allowing myself to celebrate or enjoy them.  The black cloud of “it could come back tonight while I am sleeping” or hesitating to make plans or commit to something because I am unsure of whether or not I will be up for it, still lingers on my horizon.  The stupidly annoying voice inside my head STILL chanting “I have MS, I have MS” all day, every day.

Until it didn’t.  The chant wasn’t there ALL the time and there were blissful moments of silence.  I began to do things again without thinking about the MS and without worrying about whether or not I COULD do something or whether I WOULD make it through to whatever the “end” was.  I didn’t notice the silence right away.  It was a slow realization.  My handicap parking plaquard lay dorment in my glove box, I began to walk Spanky farther and farther without worrying that the pain would render me useless, either while out on the walk, or sometime later in the day.  My workouts at the gym slowly returning to levels I would hit BEFORE the “‘fantastical” disease.  I spoke in conversations with more confidence and I wouldn’t fumble for words.  I headed off for a day of errands and kid shuttling WITHOUT thinking “shit, can I make it?  Will I be able to fulfill my commitments?”  Through ALL of these changes – there was a much needed hiatus from the damn MS monster that set up residency in my mind almost ten years ago.

It wasn’t until this fall that I realized all of this…that I noticed the peaceful stillness in my mind.  When I fell and I was lying on the sidewalk with rain and the HUGE ASS hail balls pelting my face, I did NOT once think “I have MS” OR “I have fallen BECAUSE I have MS.”  Instead I was thinking “I have fallen because of my FUCKING dog.” THAT was a wonderful/beautiful thing to be thinking (maybe not for Spanky, but for me.)  That meant, in THAT moment in time, I was actually living through something that any “normal/non-MS” person would experience.  My life (and my MIND) had briefly returned to that PRE-MS freedom.

SO….by falling and getting one BIG ASS black eye and one sore and achy body, I had a moment to reclaim myself just a bit.  I experienced (and APPRECIATED) the moment for what it was – just a complete FUCK UP that ANYONE could have accomplished and NOT another MS moment!!

My eye has healed up pretty well, and the cuts and scrapes on my hands and knees are a distant memory.  All in all, I would chalk this one up to a check in the “positive” box of life.  Having a NON-MS moment kinda ROCKED!


American Bulldog , Being Strong with a disease , confidence , disabled , Exercise and MS , Falling down with MS , I have fallen and can't get up , living with a disease , living with MS , means of mobility , MS , Multiple Sclerosis , Pain , positive attitude




Last week, while spending a bit of time on Twitter, trying to get the hang of it (which btw, you really can’t….it just doesn’t make sense) I somehow or another happened upon @ATOWalksHard.  I don’t know if I found them, or they found me, but we were united.  As I shamelessly plugged Orange Man’s story ( as his newly designated pimp) the individual on the other end of @ATOWalksHard was plugging their own MS thing.  In my ever optimistic way, I immediately thought “match made in heaven” type of shit.  Wedding bells, flowers, doves, the whole nine yards.  Orange Man was going to go for “a walk” with his new found friends.  I offered to write a post about this event (Orange Man’s dowery) in the hopes of him getting out in the fresh Michigan air for that “walk.”

 My initial thoughts were probably typical of many when hearing about a fundraising event by a group in the Greek system of our colleges here in the states.”Yea, sure.  “Hard Walk” – does that mean only hard alcohol is served on this walk?  Or maybe it is just “hard” for the pledges that they send out into the frigid Michigan winter air?

 BUT what I learned as I jumped onto their social media: ATO Facebook (head over and LIKE) and Twitter (go ahead and follow) and began reading the blog that was created from past events and watched this You-Tube video and this one  REALLY blew me away.  This wasn’t the beer chugging, toga-wearing, ignoramuses that I had expected to be making this “little” walk.  This was not Animal House part 3, 4, 20, or however many years have gone by since that movie came out.  This was an amazing group of guys (some not much older than my oldest child) that froze their asses off for 160 miles, in 8 days.  Let me repeat that….



This is a group of young men that have ALREADY figured out how amazing it feels when you are helping others (wouldn’t our world be better if EVERYONE figured that out by the time they were their age?) They have learned about making a COMMITMENT and then seeing it through (AGAIN wouldn’t  it be nice if we all had learned that by the time we were their age?)  AND they have learned the value in joining together as a group to tackle what might seem insurmountable. Which is something that I WISH I remembered more often…..


ATOgroup image ATO group 2



This group has raised OVER $100,000 since their first walk in 2013 and all proceeds go to the National MS Society.  That is no small number!  THAT is a number to be proud of….to promote, publish and brag about!  Shit…I have had this “fantastical” disease for almost 10 years and that is WAY more than I have ever raised!!!

So, why do they do “IT?”  Why do they walk ONE HUNDRED & SIXTY MILES in brutal weather conditions for MS?

Having been in the greek system (MANY years ago) I was happy to hear that each Greek house still has a philanthropic element to their group.  Each fraternity and sorority that exists at a college or university can chose what institution or cause they want to support.  The year that the Kappa Lamda chapter of Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) at Grand Valley State University learned of another chapter doing a walk for a charity, they had a brother in the house whose mother had just been diagnosed with MS.  It was a “hot button” of an idea and quickly became this groups focus charity.

This will be the fourth year that “they” walk – and the “they” is because the brothers that founded this walk and MS fundraising event have graduated and moved on, but there are new brothers that are coming in; the newly initiated that are learning from those that were there, and those that remain. Learning to be good people doing  good things to help others.  So far they have….





Walk Hard 1



 One of the brothers, that was a freshman last year wrote a post on the groups walking trip blog that resonated with me.  It can be read HERE, but I also wanted to highlight some of the things I read and heard while learning about this amazing group of men doing amazing things for those of us that live with Multiple Sclerosis.

“Sitting on my couch at home two days later, slowly recovering proper function over my limbs and desperately trying to remind myself that going upstairs didn’t always take five minutes, I realize now more than ever the importance of the event in both my life and the lives of those diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.”


“It wasn’t until later when I had directly seen the effects of multiple sclerosis and the gratefulness those diagnosed with the disease showed towards our walk that I grasped the importance of Walk Hard.  MS is exceedingly more prevalent than I had first perceived it to be and it only became apparent as those affected told me about their stories after learning of my involvement. Suddenly I wasn’t participating for me, I was participating for them. This event is so much more than raising money and walking…”


“She told us she has MS and it shocked us.  We met someone on the journey, that we were helping…It was a very humbling experience .  Really hit us as a group, knowing that what we are doing affects so many people…”


“It’s one of those moments I don’t think I’ll ever forget, and definitely something that I will remind myself of to keep up morale during the walk. It’s an honor to be able to say I’ll be walking for Mina this year.” 


“…we’ve found that our passion has only grown…so we’re constantly on the look out for new ways to spread awareness of MS.  Moreover, we’ve found that the key to this event’s success is adaptability, and being able to adjust to new challenges…”


HHMMM “key to success is adaptability and being able to adjust to new challenges.  THAT sounds a bit like MY life and how I have learned to roll with the punches and continuously adjust to the “new normals” that come my way.

I have a child that is heading off to college next year.  Truthfully I had hoped that he would avoid the Greek system and being a part of a fraternity….but I now have to admit, if he were to join a brotherhood that has members like these guys, with the same values, empathy and drive, then I am ALL for him going Greek!


Here is what I have to say about all of this…

IF you have donated to MS in the past OR you are thinking of doing so now OR you are planning on donating in the future-this is a DAMN good group of people doing amazing things!!!



ATO b:W group


ATO Walk Hard event , Fundraising for MS , inappropriate , living with MS , MS , MS Awareness , MS Charities , Multiple Sclerosis , National MS Society , social media , Twitter , Uncategorized

Orange man tired

The Orange Man Project


Game on!!!



For those that read my last post, I apologize for a bit of a repeat but want to make sure that everyone is up to speed.

(The “How to make your very own Orange Man” video is below)

As I said in my last post….this is the shit that my mind comes up with in the wee hours of the night.  Orange Man appeared in my life one day when Shawn sent me a picture of Orange Man hanging out in a coffee shop.  Then later sitting on a shelf, and lastly face down on a keyboard tired from a hard day at work (pic up above.)

Last week I shared a few on social media.  AND then…..I woke up in middle of the night thinking…..”hey, ORANGE is the color used for MS – Sooooo Orange Man should SUPPORT MS!!!

And…Orange Man’s presence in the MS community began to take root.

FIRST there was his Twitter handle: @OrangeMan4MS

THEN his very own Instagram account: orangeman4ms

My idea for a fundraising opportunity with Orange Man began to take shape.  

I was sent words of encouragement….


“it will be global”…”if u build it they will come”…”includes people in the process”

 I am hoping that MSers (and other people) ALL over the world will take pictures of their Orange Man’s adventures and then share, share, share!!!! And then ask the people they know to do the same!

On twitter (@OrangeMan4MS)

Instagram orangeman4ms


on Facebook BBHwithMS

Where ever you share, just be sure to use




WHERE will he go?



WHAT will he do?



For those living with MS it might be something that YOU yourself can no longer do OR something that you are thankful that you CAN still do.  The possibilities of what this little Man can do  are endless– just like all of us living with this “FANTASTICAL” disease. (If there is a story behind what your Orange Man is up to, please feel free to share.)

If The Orange Man Project takes off and I gather photos from here, there and everywhere I would like to then put together a book with the images and stories that you share.  If  it makes it that far, then a portion of the proceeds will go to a Multiple Sclerosis charity – something like the National MS Society OR Kiss Goodbye to MS.

****SIDE NOTE****

If you make yourself an Orange Man and want him to stick around for a few days (before he dries out and shrivels up) put him in the fridge in a Ziplock bag with a slightly damp paper towel.  He should be good for a few days


What adventures will Orange Man have?


Orange Man Surfs Up Use This

Book , Books about MS , Fundraising for MS , MS , MS Charities , Orange Man , reasons to laugh and smile , Uncategorized

Orange man tired

MEET Orange Man

OK…..So THIS is the shit that I come up with in middle of the night, when I SHOULD be sleeping.

Orange Man was conceived one day a while back when Shawn made one for me out of an orange peel. Over the next few days he kept putting him in funny places and sending me pics while I was at work…..which was super appreciated since it ALWAYS brought a smile to my face.

Last weeks I shared a few on social media…. AND then…..I woke up in middle of the night thinking…..”hey, ORANGE is the color used for MS – Sooooo Orange Man should SUPPORT MS!!!

The GRAND plan behind Orange Man is that I am going to post a tutorial video on how to make your very own Orange Man and then ask MSers (and others) ALL over the world to post pics on his twitter page (@OrangeMan4MS) of their Orange Man adventures – doing things that they no longer can do because of MS OR things they are thankful that they CAN still do.  I figure their are endless possibilities of what this little Man can do – just like all of us living with this “FANTASTICAL” disease.

IF alls goes well and people actually DO this, I hope to then create a picture book, with Orange Man images doing all sorts of things all over the world with proceeds going to an MS charity like the National MS Society OR @KissGoodbyeToMS

So here is my question….I am wondering…..would YOU take part in this?

I am just trying to gauge whether it is an idea that would fly or if this is just another one of my hairbrained ideas that my MS riddled mind comes up with in middle of the night.  I keep saying that my brain should be hardwired to my Twitter an Facebook feeds.  It’s amazing the crazy ass and funny shit I come up with in the wee hours of the night!!!!! I would love to hear from you about whether of not you think you would take part – comment right here on the post or drop a line to and follow Orange Man himself over on his VERY own twitter page !!!!

Orange Man is headed off to his next adventure! Surfs Up!! Follow him over on twitter – handle is @OrangeMan4MS.

Orange Man Surfs Up Use This

#mssociety #KissGoodbyeTo MS

Facebook , Fundraising for MS , Kiss Goodbye to MS , MS , MS Charities , MS Support Groups , Multiple Sclerosis , National MS Society , Orange Man , Twitter


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