• Making a big difference at an early age

    28 July 2017

    Guest post by Lucas Kessler, MS Bike participant

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    When I first started participating in MS Bike two years ago, it was because I liked riding my bike. Sports have always been a pretty big part of my life – I do everything from alpine skiing, to swimming, to my all-time favourite sport: basketball. I was biking with my dad one night when he mentioned MS Bike to me. “What’s that?” I asked, followed soon after with, “That’s cool, let’s do it!”

    I was 12 at the time, and didn’t know many people my age who did fundraising events like MS Bike. For me, multiple sclerosis has always been a part of my life because both my cousin and my grandma have been diagnosed with it. I’ve seen what living with MS looks like and how it has changed their lives in different ways. (more…)

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  • 20 years strong: a Raap family tradition

    25 July 2017

    Guest post by Wendy Raap, MS Bike ambassador

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    I’m standing on the edge of the deck with my husband, watching all our friends and family gathered on the lawn. It’s Friday evening in the middle of our MS Bike event in Gimli, and we’re hosting a barbeque that we’ve been holding for the better part of 20 years. All these people – eating, laughing, hanging out together – are here for me. It’s no wonder why this evening always gets me a bit emotional. (more…)

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  • Taking MS Bike across the globe

    28 June 2017

    Guest post by Ahmed Nassrat, MS Bike ambassador

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    “Show of hands – who here knows someone affected by MS?”

    All around me, hands shot up. I peered around the room filled with nearly 200 people, and realized that I was the only one whose hand wasn’t waving in the air.

    In the Middle East, where I had moved from just one year earlier, instances of multiple sclerosis are rare. Surrounded by all these people at my business conference, I could clearly see the impact of this disease was so much greater in Canada. This was my lightbulb moment, and sparked my now decade-long involvement in MS Bike. (more…)

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  • “I live with MS every day, but I’m not hiding from it.”

    26 June 2017

    Guest post by Chisani Doyle-Wood, MS Bike ambassador

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    On a summer day last year, I was sitting in my doctor’s office alone. I’d been in this chair a lot lately, and when my doctor came into the room, she announced that she had the results of the most recent MRI I’d undergone. “Have you ever heard of MS?” she asked, looking at me. Immediately my mind was whirling, and my thoughts jumped to one of the few times I had heard the word before – over 15 years ago, when a woman had visited my elementary school and shared her story of how MS had left her wheelchair-bound. I was stunned. (more…)

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  • “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

    9 June 2017

    Guest post by Patrycia Rzechowka, MS Bike Ambassador

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    Its been five years since I was diagnosed with MS, and five years since my first ride. When I get asked why I participate in MS Bike year after year, I have a simple answer – I’m stubborn.

    The weather during my ride last year was rough – I wasn’t only battling my own fatigue, but the elements too. As we came to a halt at a stop sign along the route, I realized I couldn’t feel my legs at all. I thought, ok, maybe this is it. But one of my team members came to my rescue and held my bike upright and clipped my feet back into my pedals. Then he held me steady, ran behind me, and pushed me until I got going again. (more…)

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  • Reprioritizing my life to save it

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    Guest post by Kate Thompson, MS Bike ambassador

    That first year I was diagnosed with MS was hard — hard in so many ways. I had never struggled like I struggled then. Life was chaotic. I had a very supportive husband, whom I almost never saw. Our “quality time” was spent waiting in emergency rooms or for MRI appointments. I had three wonderful children — who were children — with temper tantrums, constant needs, and a poor understanding of what was happening to their mother. I had a career, which I had worked so long and hard to get. I could no longer do many of the things I used to do, like staying up until midnight to finish up work or to make cupcakes for school parties, and then get up at 6 a.m. the next morning to make lunches. Well I could, but my next day would be a mess.

    Also, after my first relapse, my vision never fully returned, and I later learned it never would. What vision remained, worsened if I was tired. And then there was the dizziness. If I was tired, I was dizzy. If I moved too fast, was hot, upset or stressed, I was dizzy. I remember being at a work meeting one evening, talking to two experienced physicians and leaders in their fields, and walking through the conference hallways as we were talking. I couldn’t tell you what we were talking about — I was concentrating so hard on keeping my balance because my surroundings were spinning around me.

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  • “It’s sometimes hard to tell if it’s MS related, or just mom of three related.”

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    Guest post by Lori, MS Walk ambassador

    We had just moved to Calgary in 2004 – I had always called Winnipeg home, so moving to a new city was stressful. On top of that, I was raising my two-year-old son Ethan. My husband Ryan was working full-time and studying for a professional designation, which kept him very busy, and I worked full time as well. We spent our free time taking care of Ethan, and running him to swimming and skating lessons. We were also in the process of building our first house. They say that’s when MS symptoms come out, when you’re stressed. I lost my vision very quickly over the span of a couple days, first peripheral and then my entire left eye went dark. I immediately sought out medical help and was given steroids to treat the symptoms. At this point, I was told that multiple sclerosis was a possibility, but this symptom alone wasn’t enough for a diagnosis. I had an MRI nine months later and the results were good – no lesions. However, I was told that there was still a 25 percent chance that I would be diagnosed with MS in the next 10 years.

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  • “Research and the foresight of my neurologist saved my quality of life!”

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    Guest post by Darcie, MS Walk ambassador

    I like to think that I’m one of the fortunate ones because my neurologist put me on my disease modifying therapy (DMT) right away for my MS without hesitation. Since I’ve been on it, I haven’t had any relapses – it’s been seven years now. His theory was why wait? He’d seen good results in other patients who have multiple sclerosis and took this DMT, and because I hadn’t been on another medication he thought it would be the best option for me – I like to think that my neurologist positively changed my life. I take a once a month transfusion, and although it has its documented side effects, I haven’t run into any issues and it’s drastically changed my quality of life. So now I can still do everything I enjoy doing, but I just have to make sure that I don’t get overtired. I still play volleyball for an hour and a half twice a week, and I’m still able to work full-time, which I’m thankful for.

    MS research has improved my quality of life in terms of providing me with an available treatment for my MS. If it wasn’t for this DMT and the fact that my neurologist saw the potential for this drug to help me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Both of my relapses before I went on this drug were quite severe, and I couldn’t imagine what my future would have looked like without it. But I do know that there’s no end all be all in terms of treatments, and that what works for one person might not work for the next. There’s also much more information about MS since I’ve been diagnosed.
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  • “Living with MS, you need to put your own oxygen mask on first.”

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    Guest post by Samara Bleiwas

    I’m a mom, wife, business owner and a volunteer – things don’t just stop when you receive a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. What’s most challenging for me is that I never fully gained my vision back – my right eye is at about 30 percent, and what I see is equivalent to watching a blurry black and white movie. Most people get their vision back within three months, but after almost two years, I’m resigned to the fact that my vision will remain the same. I’m just a little bit more cautious when crossing the street and driving. It’s amazing how I got used to limited vision, and my brain just adjusted to my new normal.

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  • Taking a walk in my own shoes, just a different style

    7 April 2017

     

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    Guest post by Lisa Mackintosh

    The road to my diagnosis started when I saw my family doctor in October of 2014 because I was having issues with numbness and balance, which I originally thought was undiagnosed vertigo. It turns out I was in denial and had been experiencing a variety of symptoms for a while. When I ended up with numbness in my right arm, I was sent to get a cat scan right away. My doctor showed me areas of fuzziness on my brain and referred me to an urgent neurology clinic. Once at his office, the neurologist spent nearly an hour asking me questions like had I ever felt this, experienced that, or does this ever happen when I do so and so, and so on. Every one of my answers that followed his questions started out with “Yes… but.” The neurologist really made me think about when the initial signs of my MS started, and mentioned that he thought I might have had multiple sclerosis since my early 20s – when I had a case of optic neuritis – which makes sense now. If anything, I guess I had 20 some years of ignorant bliss! My third MRI, in 2015 confirmed it –  I had MS, and now I have an explanation of why my body acts the way it does without warning.

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