Friday, December 23, 2011

Scotland Calls for Mandatory Vitamin D

Here's an article from The Guardian about the link between a lack of  vitamin D and MS. In Scotland, which has one of the highest rates of MS in the world, they are calling for mandatory doses of  vitamin D.

I don't know if vitamin D helps or not, but I do take at least 1000 units per day. There certainly seems to be a valid link between lack of vitamin D and MS. Why is it that it is an illness found mainly in countries with little sun in winter and nearly unknown in countries  that  get the most daylight hours?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Niagara Lights

Last weekend I was at Niagara Falls for the "Light Up the World" event. The 70th anniversary of Amnesty International.  Have to say that it was a disappointment. Just a hand full of people attended They even arranged to have the Falls lit up yellow for the event. So much for social networks being this great unifying force. I'm not on Facebook I found out about it from a friend's email ( so old school of me) but supposedly it was well promoted  there. I maintain that instead of reaching out to people; social networking only encourages cliques.  Anyway, here's some shots of the Christmas lights .

Not the best shot but it makes the full moon look like a star


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Montreal Massacre

Today women commemorate the murder of 14 women  in Canada which happened 22 years ago.   Sadly known as the Montreal Massacre, the lone gunmen ranted about how "feminism" was responsible for all his problems.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dr Fraser Mustard

Dr. Fraser Mustard died today.

 He was my doctor when I was only 2 years old and needed surgery for club foot.  Those were hard times for me and my family, but he helped us get through it. If it hadn't been for him who knows if I would even be able to walk.  He was a great man who did so much for children  He will be missed.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Appeal to the South Asian Community

A member of my postcard club needs a bone marrow transplant. If you are South Asian and can help, please have a look here  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Post Op

Here it is Thursday, day two after my surgery. What a relief to know that I only needed a partial removal of my thyroid and I won't require any medications, as the remaining part of my thyroid is normal.

My Thanks to the surgical team at St Joseph's Healthcare. The new day  surgery unit at that hospital is a marvel. Not only very efficient and well organized, but all the staff are friendly and caring.  Not surprised that it has been named one of the top employers in Canada for 2011.

 How wonderful to be able to go home after the surgery with no worries. I was assigned a home care nurse to check up on me, change my bandages, and monitor my drainage tube.   I had expected to pay for the supplies for the home visit, which consisted  of a large box packed with items; but no. When my son went to pick them up at the medical supply store, they said no charge! And that has nothing to do with my financial situation or anything else. It's all a part of my treatment.

 THANK GOD FOR CANADA'S HEALTHCARE SYSTEM !!!! I can't say it loud enough or often enough.  Anyone who says different is wrong.

  As a taxpayer I say we are better off investing those tax  dollars in healthcare, than wars, foreign aid,  or tax breaks for the corporate elite. Canada has always be pointed at as an inefficient,  socialist, unsustainable country. Well Bah! to that I say! Look at the G20, the Eurozone , and  the United States. They flouder and yet Canada has been able to hold it's own.  OK so we aren't they peace keepers anymore ( which is distressing to me) and  our current government looks too often to American Neo Cons, for inspiration, but Canada is still a pretty decent, fair place to live.

Even though I still have the challenge of MS to deal with;  I can say that right at this moment, I feel happy to be alive.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pre Op

This morning was my visit to the pre operative assessment clinic for my surgery November 1. Many tests done  and a  meeting with anesthetist and surgical nurse. Once again we went over the best case and worst case scenarios. Hoping for the best, because the worst case doesn't sound at all like fun. Not happy that there's the possibility that the surgery could exacerbate my MS symptoms (their words, not mine)

Doesn't matter if you go to the shiny new wing of the hospital with the pretty bright green decor, meet  the cheerful, smiling staff, dressed in colourful uniforms. It's always the same. Before you enter the hospital don't forget to check your dignity at the door.  They treat you like a 5 year old ( speaking slowly and loudly) or like a slab of meat.  OK I know we were all girls in the room; but did you really need to leave me lying there with the hospital gown wide open in front while you  ladies had a chat ?

Here are a  few photos from from late September early October. I went to the  Nuit  Blanche art festival  in Toronto, which I have to say was a little  disappointing  this year. One good thing though is I decided to  check out Sugar Beach, which is at the foot of Jarvis Street near the Redpath sugar factory.  Wow! That area sure has changed from when I lived there 15 years ago. The beach is lovely and the sand; whatever kind it is, does look and feel like sugar. If you work in downtown Toronto I recommend you go  there and see for yourself.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Birthday Adventure

Did the "CN Tower Edge Walk"  for my birthday. Not the fancy stuff like hanging by my heels over the edge or standing on my tip toes, but I did walk all around on the edge.  Yeah, having poor balance and wonky legs makes me less of a daredevil. I also didn't want other people to see me wobbling; thinking I was so because I was frightened. No not at all, I was totally calm. The only thing I don't like is how fat I look in those coveralls!

Monday, September 5, 2011

High Profile

Before I get into my post; you should check out Google's (Google Doodle) tribute to Freddie Mercury. He would have been 65 today. The band Queen,  was,  and still is,  a huge favourite of my friends and me.

Then there is Neil Cavuto, a news correspondent on Fox Business News, who talked on air about his MS. I don't watch Fox, but a friend of mine does and told me about it. Out of curiosity I  decided to read the story  online.
Good for Neil Cavuto to admit publicly he has MS and talk about  the typical stages: denial, anger, depression, acceptance. Not so good, that once again the world is misinformed about MS. Another person  "fighting" MS believing " I've got  MS but it hasn't got me".

Here are my MS facts:

MS progresses, no matter what you do. It's different for everyone and progresses at different rates.

All the drugs in the world won't stop progression. Maybe slow it down a bit, but MS will continue to progress.

Not all MS suffers end up in a wheelchair. Most don't.

MS does not cause muscle atrophy. MS affects neurological function, which can impair mobility, which can lead to muscle atrophy.

There are common symptoms such as fatigue and depression, but MS is different for everyone. That is why it is often difficult to diagnose.

MS is not a death sentence. Rarely, does anyone die as a result of MS.

Keeping yourself as fit and healthy as possible is the best way to live with MS, however; no amount of juice, vitamin pills, drugs, meditation, acupuncture, psychotherapy, prayer, exercise, massage, chiropractic,  marathons, positive thinking, will halt the progression.

You don't have to be a super hero when you have MS. You don't have to prove anything to anyone. It isn't a battle.

There are days when you will want the entire world to get lost.  You won't feel like putting on a  brave face.

You will have to endure the blessed  ignorance of those who are trying to help you . You will be accused of not trying to help yourself.

You will have to accept that there are things you can't do anymore.

MS is a crap shoot. It sucks !!  It's got you and that's that!!

You can live with it though, and you can still  have a good life

Friday, September 2, 2011

Night Time Worries

A quick post before I go to bed. Trying not to worry about the appointment with the surgeon next week and trying to not worry about another meeting at work. Ahh! I feel like running away, only it's too hot out (32C)
and my thyroid would still be lumpy. I have to keep working too, even though they are really sucking the life out of me. Once again I have new bosses and they of course have their own take on my medical accommodation.
I say if it ain't broke why fix it?

I could understand the meddling if I were a bad worker; but I'm actually a pretty good worker!I do as much as any of the healthy people.  Well I'm going to try and not think about it and enjoy the long weekend. The last one of summer. It's supposed to cool down quite a bit by Sunday and I'm looking forward to that.

Next post I have to talk about my favourite dream.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Z: Zen

Z: Zen

 Here is Jack Layton's letter to Canadians, although I think everyone, everywhere,  would feel inspired by it .
Jack Layton's Last Letter

Zen is a Buddhist teaching emphasizing meditation and intuition. During difficult times we should focus on what is important and trust our instincts.  Not always easy to do. There are times when we feel cheated, left out, used and abused. We wonder if we are making the right decisions; what with all the information that gets thrown at us. So much advice, so many people telling us what they think we should do. Some do it out of love, a love that often smothers more than it nurtures. Some are just plain busy bodies that have a need to fill. Others want to help, but have their own challenges to face. In the end, we are alone when it comes time to make decisions  about our lives and what  direction we should go.  We must push aside doubt, block the noise, focus, and do it. We can do it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Y: Youth

"How do I know my youth has been spent,
My get-up-and-go, got up and went.
But in spite of all that, I'm able to grin,
When I think where my get-up-and-go has been."

Pete Seeger 
Yeah I'm seriously lacking in "get up and go". Found out I will have to have my thyroid out, which really sucks and my legs are messed up . At least that hasn't  stopped me from getting out, even if it's just for short intervals. 

Went to the James Street Art Crawl last Friday. Hadn't been to it in months mostly  due to the weather. It rained all spring and then it was brutal hot and humid  most of the summer.
I don't mind so much feeling like I'm going to melt if I'm out on the nature trails, but going in and out of buildings with no air conditioning, is just too much for me. 

Have to say I was disappointed in the Art Crawl this time. It's turning more into a street festival; with food stalls, craft booths, and various special interest groups pushing their agenda. Hey !I have nothing against Vegans, yet I don't really think it's appropriate to  have a  t.v. on a public street, showing videos of piglets being slaughtered . It's the Art Crawl  and I came here to see art!!

There are so many of these festivals during the summer and they all have a sameness about them. Food, shopping,  really loud third rate bands, beer gardens, and those inflated bouncy castles for kids. And why would I want to sign up for a cell phone contract or a fitness club while I'm at an outdoor festival?  Hey I sound like a complaining old fogey!

Yeah, well, my life is not exactly a picnic right now.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

X: X Rays

Before I talk about X Rays. Here's a few snaps from the Hamilton Caribbean Parade

And just a few metres away  a tribute to the Hiroshima dead.

A day of sorrow; a day of joy.

I find out that the X Rays I had to treat acne when I was a teenager, may have caused my thyroid problems.
I find out next week just how bad.

Monday, August 1, 2011

W: Warcraft

W: Warcraft

Picked up another addictive habit. Playing the online game Warcraft Cataclysm. My son and his friends play and
told me about a trail version, so I figured what the heck. It's blazing heat out and I feel so much better when I stay indoors, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I'm really terrible  at it, but have managed to get to level 15 with my Blood Elf character, although she has been killed and resurrected several times(damn those vampire mist bats!!) . So far  she can attack enemies with fire bolts and frost bolts. 

The game has "quests" to earn points to obtain a higher level. These quests are mostly  going around killing weird creatures and collecting things. The people who know what they're doing can chat, join groups, and guilds. I'm way too slow for all that, although I really would like to. It makes me feel good  to know  that I'm not the space cadet I think I am and can actually figure things out in this game and have a strategy.

Have some time to waste? Give it a try

Here's a good quote I found at Doonesbury.I couldn't agree more and it's another thing that makes me feel better. I'm not alone!!

"I have always wished for my computer to be as easy to use as my telephone; my wish has come true because I can no longer figure out how to use my telephone."
— Danish computer scientist Bjarne Stroustrup

In closing I just wanted to say that I published some recent comments but now I can't figure out where they went  and can't remember who they where from. They are really good comments too so Thank You.

  What's that I just said about not being a space cadet ?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

V: Value

V: Value
Does human life have value anymore? After my recent travels and also watching news about  the  the phone hacking  scandal; I think not.

 What else can I say about air travel that hasn't already been said? Does anyone remember the comic Alan King? He had an entire routine about how awful air travel is and things have only gotten worse. You have to practically be an Olympic athlete to survive it.

I know we need airport security, but those body scanners are dehumanizing. Doesn't seem to matter how much security we have when any bozo can hack your cell phone and even delete your messages.

Enough said about all that, because it's too depressing to think that we no longer have any privacy or any dignity.

On a lighter note: I'm plugging a website for my friend Sourav,  who lives in Mumbai. It's called Skyward Future Artists. If you like art you will enjoy this site.

We are having a crazy heatwave, 38C out there. For the last three days I haven't been any further than my garden and even then only for a few minutes. I can't handle this oppressive weather. Yeah, last week I was visiting friends who live in the dessert and it was incredibly hot; but they live the typical American lifestyle.  The go  from the air conditioned house, to the car, and then to the cool indoor destination, with only short periods outside,so I was fine. Back home it's a different story. I don't have a car, I detest cabs, and public transportation in my city really sucks. I'm staying in my nice cool house and am amazed how much better I feel with the air conditioning on. Haven't had a hot spell in weeks. It's lovely to feel almost normal.

Most of my vacation pictures didn't turn out . I'm waiting for my friends to send me a few shots.  Meanwhile, here's one of my favourite restaurants in Las Cruces, N.M., me at the pool cooling off, and some art.


Monday, July 4, 2011



And I don't mean the United Nations. No, I was looking up a word in the dictionary; the old school, book kind, when I came a cross the the entry for : un.  A very useful prefix, that can be used to change the meaning of so many words: unkind, undead, unbelievable, undeniable, unlike,unreal, etc. etc.

Perfect because I'm feeling very un.  First, the phone call from the neurologist's office, telling me they can't interpret the results of my thyroid biopsy, so they are referring me to an endocrinologist. That I don't get. Either the thing is malignant or benign. Has to come out, or be treat with drugs.  Another delay, another nuisance.

Then I got the bill for my share of the tree removal: $1045.!!! At first my neighbour and me were hopeful that that was the total for both of us, but Nope!!    AND does the neighbour who's tree caused all the damage give a hoot!! Nope. AND no point in putting in an insurance claim since I have a $500 deductible and they threaten to raise my rates if I do. Don't you just love insurance companies!

Canadians, this is the kind of crap we will have to go through with insurance companies if  we decide to go with private health care; so  think about it before you start ragging on about what a mess our system is. We have a pretty good system; even if the doctors can be real twits sometimes.They are just as big of twits in the U.S.

I've been reading some MS blogs, which I haven't done for awhile.  So many people having real challenges.
 So many people who believed the drugs would help, yet sadly they progress; just like me. Doesn't seem to matter what we do, MS keeps marching to it's own pace.

  My challenge right now is with my walking. I can still walk pretty good, but I've had to give up climbing the stairs at the harbour, and walking uphill yesterday,  was  really slow and difficult. My right leg is the one causing me problems, but the left one ain't so hot either. I guess that's because I'm compensating for the right leg, which stresses the left.  I can see that in the near future I may have to sell my house, because the stairs are getting hard to manage. 

The Canada Day weekend was pleasant. The first real summer weather and the first weekend for  air conditioning. I have a love/hate relationship with my air conditioner. I feel so much better when it is on but I hate the ever increasing expense of electricity.  For me the culprit in my MS struggles is the heat, so I really need this air and I hate that reality.

Here's a few photos  from this weekend. It was Scottish day at Dundurn Castle, and I just happened to be going by when the bag pipers were practicing. We were being sill at the garden and the ants were having a good time too. The Elvis is from my trip to the Falls last week. For $2.00 he will do a dance and give you a guitar necklace.