12.23.2018

My Worst MS Day. Ever. So Far.



Last Monday was my worst MS day. Ever.

I haven’t had a lot of ‘disease activity’ over the last year. Don’t get me wrong, Multiple Sclerosis affects me every day; but that’s old news, the stuff I’m used to. After coping with, and recovering from, a sudden decline in my mobility last Christmas, I spent most of 2018 feeling grateful for all the steps I’m still able to take, and proud of how I’ve been able to focus on what I can do, without obsessing over scary hypotheticals. 

It’s possible I’ve been a little too hasty in giving myself props. After all, I’ve had Multiple Sclerosis for a thousand years already; I should know a thing or two about living with chronic illness. MS is always going to be hard, but it’s relatively easy to keep your shit together when things are stable.

Of course, this is MS, and stable only lasts so long.

And so it was that last Saturday I woke up in New York City, in town for a Very Important Bestie’s Very Important Birthday, feeling only slightly rougher than usual. I blamed my heavy vocal cords on dry airplane air, a late night, and my attempts to channel Eminem at a karaoke dive-bar the night before. I didn’t have time to give my fatigue too much thought. I was in the Big Apple at Christmas-time and festivities were afoot. 

As the day wore on, it became harder to ignore the congestion that was building in my chest, but ignore it I did. There was no way I was going to be sick during a weekend in one of my favourite cities, to see one of my favourite people, at one of my favourite times of year. I threw on a red lip, shoved a wad of kleenex up my sleeve, and made the sign of the cross, before heading to my VIB’s VIB dinner at a legendary New York steakhouse.

What's her secret? That wristlet is full of caths and there are 18 tissues up my sleeve.

We arrived at the restaurant, ready for good times. There were three or four steps into the dining room, because big cities haven’t gotten the accessibility memo yet. This was annoying, but manageable. As The Banker tucked Optimus Prime, my convertible rollator into a corner, a friendly waiter helped me negotiate the stairs down to the table where our friends were waiting.

We had an amazing meal, my last pleasant memory of the weekend that would be cut short. By the time dinner was over, I knew with a sinking feeling that I was, for sure, coming down with something. What I didn’t know was just how badly whatever bug I was battling was about to start poking the MS that had been relatively quiet this past year, with a stick.  

Enter the pseudo-relapse. 

Unlike a true MS exacerbation that happens when there are new lesions on the brain or spinal cord, pseudo-relapses can be caused by things like infections, increases in body temperature, exercise, stress, lack of sleep, a butterfly flapping its wings. A pseudo-relapse wakes up old symptoms that may have resolved, or makes existing symptoms worse. And in my particular case, on this particular week-end, much fucking worse.

When it came time to leave the restaurant, those same stairs I’d negotiated with a cane and the arm of an anonymous man were suddenly impossible. In the span of a few hours I’d gone from prancing around Manhattan, shopping and posing for pics, to being carried up three stairs in a wheelchair by two burly men. Okay, one was a waiter, and the other The Banker. Neither were particularly burly.  

Though it was cold and drizzly and the hotel was 30 minutes away, I didn’t want to take a cab because I didn’t think I could physically get out of my chair to get into a car. So we walked. I mean, The Banker walked. And pushed. I sat, wrapped in the blanket I’d taken from the hotel, feeling defeated and small after the whole restaurant hoist, ready to sleep it off and start fresh the next day. 

But there was nothing fresh about the next day. 

As I lay in bed, flat on my back, my anxiety turned to dread when I realized I couldn’t sit up, turn over, or bend my legs. At all. I woke The Banker who pulled me into a seated position. As soon as he let go, I went crashing back down; both of us shocked to learn I couldn’t hold myself up. 

I knew I was running a fever, and figured I was getting the flu. I know what that can do to MS. But just because the pseudo-relapse isn’t a real relapse, doesn’t mean it can’t do real damage. Here's something I just happened to have read on Bart's MS a few days before my deep dive into a new level of disability.

“Every time you get an infection it causes your immune system to produce cytokines, or inflammatory messengers, that travel to the brain and boost(s) the activity of the microglia. The hot microglia then exacerbate the damage that MS is doing to your brain and spinal cord. This is why many of you tolerate infections so poorly and often don’t recover back to baseline after a severe infection.”

I’m not exactly a science girl, but it sounds to me like cytokines are Satan’s envoy, sent to provoke the hot microglia into a bar-fight in my brain. None of this is good. The possibility of not recovering back to baseline is what makes colds and flus such a freaking nightmare for people with MS. Like a real life visit from a very dark Dickensian ghost, for a few days this Christmas, I had a glimpse into a possible future where I am less independent (the gentlest way to put it). This past week-end, I got to try on what it feels like to have to ask for help. 


For Every. Single. Thing. 

I got to experience the uncomfortable dynamic of being dependent on my partner, of apologizing for things that are beyond my control, but I nonetheless feel responsible for. I felt the demoralization that comes with the constant please and thank you’s for things I never wanted to need.  


And I hated it.

Until this past week-end, I’d spent the past year feeling pretty kick-ass and mentally strong. I haven’t been wigging out over future disability day-mares. And now I suddenly find myself jolted back into consideration of a future that once again doesn’t feel so improbable. It’s a future that feels like it’s one step away instead of ten. And it’s just too hard to imagine. 

So I won’t imagine it. Or I’ll stop imagining it. Now that I’ve given voice to my fears, I must put them back in a box and light them on fire. As my flu symptoms began to resolve, my strength and independence blessedly began to return. I’m still recovering, and fingers crossed, I will get back to baseline. 

Today at least, I am okay. And that has to be enough. 













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12.04.2018

12 Of The Most Unique Gifts People With MS Want


It’s the gift giving season and if you have a chronic illness like Multiple Sclerosis, you deserve presents most of all, because stuff can’t cure MS, but it sure can make it suck less. 

The unconventional gifts people with chronic illness actually want.

Gift-giving when MS is involved can be challenging. What to get the person who has everything a debilitating brain disease? One year, The Banker temporarily lost his mind and gave me an enormous, Barney-coloured heated blanket, and I cried all the way to Christmas dinner. My love language is jewel-toned, but on like actual jewels. I hated that blanket so bad, and not just because it looked like a deflated cartoon dinosaur – I hated it because it was a sick-person present.

Wow, you’re a spoiled sucky baby. A heated blanket is a pretty thoughtful gift for someone who’s cold all the time. 

You’re not wrong. But just because I have MS doesn’t mean I’m not vain and superficial, preferring romantic gifts over practical ones. If the Barney blanket had come from anyone other than The Banker, I would have hated it less. 

I mean, probably. I really can’t stress just how purple it was. 

I know The Banker’s intention was to warm me up, but his choice of present didn't feel like I was the sexy wife he wanted to drown in perfume and drape in diamonds; it felt like I was the shivering consumptive he wanted to cover with a polyester tarp.

Obviously I need therapy, and maybe you do too. But therapy is expensive, and this gift guide is free. You won’t find crossword puzzles, mugs filled with hard candies, festive epsom salts, or any other geriatric gifts here. Christmas is a time for reckless indulgence; a time for drinking too much champagne, and putting pickles in trees; it is not a time for gifts that remind me I’m aging in dog years. 

Here are my top picks of the best, Tripper-approved gifts you didn’t even know you needed Santa to bring you this year. 


1. Clean Hair

Showering is hard, and the last thing I ever wanna do after risking my life in that slippery, upright, future-coffin is lift a blow-dryer to my head. Whether you have heat sensitivity, balance problems, muscle weakness, fatigue, or any and all of the above, showering requires scheduling and recovery time. Having someone else wash and dry my hair is a weekly luxury that feels like an energy-freeing life-changer.

Gift: Blow-dry package from a local salon. 


2. Buy Me A Drink

Every basic bitch’s chronic illness gift guide is gonna have tea on it. But do not come at me with a tired old box from the Hasty Market. I want fancy tea that comes with a tin and stern instructions not to over-steep it. This green tea is a major splurge, which makes it the perfect gift, because it’s the kind of thing you might not buy for yourself. Also, it comes from the tears of real dragons, or your money back (I assume). 

Gift: Jasmine Dragon Tears Tea, Gourmet Hot Chocolate, seven dollar lattes.


Good enough to bust out the wedding china.


3. Decision-Free Days

Do you ever feel like you will literally die one hour before dinner because you have no idea what to make and making that decision will end you, so you just stare at your phone for 157 minutes hoping Siri can figure it out, but she’s actually a useless cow, so you end up eating two saltines and an unwrapped Lifesaver you found at the bottom of your purse, before going to bed in your clothes? 

There is science to back up the theory that we have a limited amount of decisions in us per day, and that number is, for sure, lower if you have MS. 

Subscription services are all the rage because they save time and energy. You only have to choose how you want to stock your fridge or freezer once a month instead of every damn day. 

Gift: Food Box. My local favourites are Plan B Organic Farm and Butcher Box.

Festive bells will distract your best frenemy from the fact that you just gave them cabbage and called it a present.


4. Take-Out

Last night, The Banker told me how much he loved the turkey stroganoff I’d made for dinner. And I said, do you like it more than you like having sex? He didn’t feel safe answering, but the point is, if I’m making dinner I’m not making anything else. Dinner comes at a hard time of day, and no matter how much I’ve paced myself, I’ve already drained my battery. 

Gift: Gift cards to delivery services like Skip The Dishes or Foodora will free up your evening for more interesting pursuits. 

I'm all toasty inside.


5. Can I Get A Ride Share?

Whether MS has messed with your ability to drive, you’re sick of being the DD, or your outfit is too fancy for the bus to handle, having access to transportation provides major liberation. In cities like Toronto you can even get a wheelchair accessible Uber (WAV), or Uber Assist which offers independently trained drivers to help seniors or persons with disabilities.  

Gift: Ride service gift card.


6. Books You Don't Have To Read

Vision loss is a real thing for many with MS, and if you’re struggling to see, e-readers are great for letting you choose a font that most people could see from space. If holding a device and moving your eyes is still too much, Audible is a great way to get learned and kill all those hours in the infusion room without the risk of paper cuts. Isn’t it great to live in the future?

Gift: E-reader, Audible subscription.


Nobody needs to know you're reading about the sisterhood. Again.


7. Clean Base Boards

MS fatigue can interfere with your ability to stay on top of your laundry and your lunch prep, and even if you’re able to do some tidying and light housework, for many with MS, the deep clean is too daunting to ever truly get done. If you’ve only got energy for one thing a day, it shouldn’t have to be scrubbing the toilet.  

Gift: Gift certificate for housekeeping/cleaning service.


8. If You Can't Hide It, Decorate It

Chances are you need a briefcase to hold all your MS meds and supplements, but you also need a smaller vessel to shlep around whatever meds you might need to get you through the day. Opening your clutch or man-bag and pulling out an orange plastic bottle just feels so…medical. 

Gift: A pretty pill-case is a gift you can find at any price point. I’m currently coveting this one I found on Etsy. 


Hold up. I’m a dude. This is starting to feel like a chick’s list.


9. Regularity

If you’re a dude and you’re still reading this, and wondering what the heck Santa is supposed to bring you, remember that housework is also your responsibility. But if that’s not enough to get you excited, the Squatty Potty® will. I know what you’re thinking, this feels 100% like a sick person present. But that’s where you’re wrong, because according to my niece Abigail, Everybody Poops. It just might take a little more creativity when you’ve got MS. 

Gift: Squatty Potty.

It's a stool for your stool!

10. Hang Out

Technically, spending time with me doesn’t count as a gift, so make sure you bring lunch or a bottle of wine, maybe bake some cookies. Better still, take me Christmas shopping and offer to carry my shit, and rest at every bench. Or offer to push me in one of the wheelchairs you can borrow from the mall. 

Gift: You being cool, and me not having to ask for awkward things.


11. Walk The Dog

If you’re looking for creative ways to say Happy Festivus, a commitment to walking the dog on the snowiest of snow days, or to scooping the cat litter on any day – because gross – is an energy saving gift that has the added bonus of providing you and yours with an extra chance to see each other during the week.  

Gift: Pet Care.  

Who wouldn't want to hang with this bitch?

12. Cure It

The best gift anyone with MS could ever receive would be to not have MS, obvi. Despite the tremendous developments in MS treatments, we must not get the impression that MS is under control. It's not.  

Gift: Make a donation to an organization that supports persons with MS, or that funds MS research. I like what they’re doing at Tisch.


Having Multiple Sclerosis means managing a constant personal energy crisis. All the time, I hear from loved ones who wish they could help. While you can’t fix MS (and black market prednisone is not a sustainable option), there are ways you can help extend the battery life of someone with a chronic illness, freeing up precious resources to spend on the things that really matter, like watching cat videos on Youtube, Google Earthing your boss's house, or reading ridiculous blogs.  

Happy Holidays, Trippers. I hope Santa is good to you. 














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11.19.2018

Winter Can Hurt When You Have MS: 8 Things To Do




A lot has been written about heat intolerance and Multiple Sclerosis; and yeah, put me in a hot bath and I’m al dente in 6 minutes or less. But somehow, even in that bath, my feet manage to maintain a corpse-like grey and still feel cold. If you have MS, the heat might mess you up, but feeling cold can be it’s own kind of torture.

It’s called Dysesthesia. Dys - meaning wrong and aesthesia meaning sensation. Like a twisted game of Telephone, it happens when damaged nerves send inappropriate messages to the brain. It can feel like pins and needles, an electric shock, cold, or burning pain. 

Just like everyone’s MS is different, so is everyone’s MS-related Dysesthesia. For me, it means that regardless of room temperature or time of year, whenever my nerves decide to drunk-dial my brain to talk about their feelings, my brain (who doesn’t speak Vodka), decides I’m cold. And not a cute, ooh, I’m a little chilly, let’s get cozy kind of cold. Screw you. It’s a bone-deep, painful, unholy Arctic chill, that ironically feels more like being on fire than anything a sweater could solve. 


There's nothing cute about this look.
Or this one.
My attempts to cope with this constant confusion include fully-clothed visits to the sauna, regularly blow-drying my body, and buying coffee just to hold the cup. I use the car seat warmer in the summer, wear down-filled, outdoor camping booties in the house, and my most recent Make-A-Wish is to have all the hardwood ripped out and replaced with heated floors, because my feet, by far, bear the worst of it. My toes look so disturbingly undead that whenever I get a pedicure, the aesthetician tries to scrub off the remnants of what she assumes must have been blue polish. 


Someone at the MAC counter asked if my nose is red because I drink. Rude. My mom knit me this itchy AF beak blanket because my nose is THAT cold.

All of these strategies are bullshit, of course. I’m still Jack Nicholson at the end of The Shining cold. While there are medications that can help treat these sensory mind-fucks, I haven’t found any that work for me. But talk to your doctor, because everyone's MS is different, and as every fangirl knows, winter is coming.

Don't let anything come between you and your garbage fire.

The good news is, while it might feel like my flesh is dying, there’s no actual tissue damage occurring. The bad news is, this kind of pain is hard to understand and can make you feel like your own brain is trying to gaslight you. Don’t expect much validation from medical professionals either. Doctors know you have bigger things to worry about, like being able to walk, and see – I once had a neurologist tell me that eventually menopause would take care of this symptom – he thought he was hilarious, and sure, he did look like a muppet; but sometimes it’s the sensory that can have the biggest impact on day to day quality of life.  

Dysesthesia is no joke, Dr. F.

I was born in Montreal and live in Toronto. That’s Canada, bitches. The capital of winter. But just because winter is in my DNA doesn’t mean I have to love it. I don’t. I hate winter. Hate is a strong word, and Jack Frost can go to hell (but like, save me a seat, cause it’s warm there). It’s not just the cold. Negotiating a rollator on unploughed sidewalks sucks. Bladder urgency is not conducive to 30 layers of clothing. Chapped lips, insufficient sunlight, salt stains, and static cling all leave me asking myself Why the fuck do I live here?

diversity, healthcare, opportunity, freedom, food culture, regular culture, brunch culture, friends and family, maple syrup, tolerance, Tim Hortons...

Oh right.  #sorry

I can’t love winter, but I can try to hate it less. In my next life I’m coming back as the surface of the sun, or Fat Elvis, but until then, I want to learn how to embrace the season without freezing my actual tongue to a pole. I’m trying to adjust my attitude by focusing on appreciating the positive things you can only really do in winter. With that in mind,


8 Ways To Make Winter Suck Less:

Winter Food
Strawberry shortcake and sangria are over; let it go. And while no reasonable person looks forward to brussels sprouts, beets, cabbage, or any of the gross things that grow in tundra, it doesn’t mean you can’t eat your way through winter. Comfort food is the solution, and if you can get someone else to make it, even better. I’m talking shortbread cookies, beef stew, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, grilled cheese, cheese fondue, basically anything with melted cheese. 

Drink Through It
Two words: Seasonal Lattes. Call me basic, but there’s something seriously soothing about a candy-cane cup of caffeinated warm milk. And only in winter can liquid chocolate be considered a legitimate breakfast food. Adding Irish cream, Kahlua, or Peppermint Schnapps to your afternoon coffee seems like substance abuse in the summer, but when it’s dark out at 4:30? Fair game. 

Let Yourself Go
Don’t even worry about what all this extra eating and drinking is doing to you. Nobody can tell what’s going on under that snow-suit, and did I mention it’s dark? Now’s the time to embrace winter weight, stop shaving your legs, or giving a fuck; that’s spring’s problem. You don’t have to wear pants with a waistband anymore. If you do have to leave the house, wrap yourself in a blanket scarf, and suddenly you don’t look derelict, you look European. See you in April, bra.

Make Like The Danes #hyggelife
Despite living in a damp, sunless country, the Danes have been shoving their happiness down our throats since happiness lists were invented. From the land of Lego, stylish mobility aids, and dogs that look like tiny horses, comes Hygge; the hug you can give yourself. If you don’t know about this culture of candles and coziness, I don’t even know who you’re following on Insta; but if you’re like me and you love a trend, a quick fix, and the North-American commercialization of a pure, simple tradition, Hygge is for you! 

Denmark: We're better than you.

Make Your Friends Come To You
The best thing about condo life is never having to shovel snow or take out the garbage. The second best thing is having neighbours that become good friends. My building buddies and I can come and go between our apartments in our pyjamas. It’s like living in a dorm but without the academic consequences of weeknight wine-drinking, and nobody has a Che Guevera poster on the wall. Between board game night, movie night, and Ubereats, I literally never have to go outside. (Wait, don’t you have a dog? Yeah, that’s The Banker’s problem.)

But Actually, Exercise
Before cabin fever turns you into a murderous recluse, realize that exercise is not only essential for your physical health, it can also have a powerful effect on mood. If you’re one of those people who actually enjoys cold exercise winter sports, congratulations, you’re better than me. For everyone else, figure out a way to move. The MS Gym has free online tutorials with workouts every MS’er can do at home at every level of mobility.

Check Yourself 
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a real thing that can exacerbate depression, making winter particularly difficult, and those of us with multiple sclerosis are at a higher risk. Meditation, those fancy light lamps, cognitive-behavioural therapy, and certain medications can help. If you’re more than a whiny, winter-hater like me, and feel legit depressed, don’t suffer; talk to your doctor. 

Not All Squash Is Gross
If you’re still reading this terrible advice, I feel compelled to provide you with a recipe that’s a little more in-line with a healthy MS lifestyle than the suggestion you stay in bed with an electric blanket, a bag of Miss Vickie’s chips, and all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls. Seriously. Don’t stop your Wahls, your OMS, your Swank, or whatever MS wellness plan you're following just because some rando on the internet tries to rationalize day-drinking your way through winter. 

This butternut squash and Italian sausage soup is gluten-free, and dairy-free. And not on purpose either! Take out the sausage and voilà, it's vegan!

It doesn’t taste as good as summer feels, but it’s pretty darn close.



Roast a butternut squash.

In a soup pot, sauté some Italian sausage out of its casing, then add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, whatevs. Maybe a smidge of apple cider vinegar if you feel like deglazing, but does anyone actually do that?

Add roasted squash, a handful of fresh sage, several cups of stock, and a glug of maple syrup (obvi the real stuff, I hate winter, I don’t hate Canada). Bring to a boil, then simmer until you feel like it. 

Purée. 

It’s 102 days until spring. Stay warm, Trippers.












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11.10.2018

How To Know Your Worth In The Face Of MS Intolerance



I could list the ways I’ve been left out, treated differently, or whatever gentle words you wanna use to describe being dissed and discriminated against for having MS. 

There was the New York City girls trip that happened in secret, because I might have ‘slowed them down’. There were professional opportunities for which it was assumed I was ‘not well enough’. There was even the chance to be in a docu-drama and reality series that I was forced to forgo once my diagnosis had been disclosed.

But none of these indignities comes close to impacting me like the gut-punch that came with the first time I felt othered for having MS. 

When I was first diagnosed I worried about what would happen to my body, natch, but I never considered people would treat me differently. My obnoxiously confident younger self had no idea I’d just become that girl with MS, and was thus protected from feeling reduced by my disease, at least for a little while. 

The first year AD (after diagnosis), as I struggled to come to terms with my new reality, I found comfort in a network of support. I had good friends who rallied around me (the epic NYC diss still a few years away), my employer was accommodating; and sure, I had a break-up or ten with my on-again, off-again bf, but I didn’t think that had anything to do with MS, break-ups and drama being part of the deal when dating a bartender with a soul patch.

Fast forward a couple of years AD. By now I was rocking the whole invisible illness look. The shock of my dx having worn off, my employer stopped feeling sorry for me and started giving me the side-eye of doubt for taking so many sick days. Things were getting trickier for me at work, but my relationships were better than ever. 

In fact, my Justin and Selena situation with The Bartender was in an on-again cycle, and I was starting to think things were actually getting serious. Except for one thing. I was never invited to his house, where he still lived with his parents. For a long time I didn’t notice this slight. I mean, I wasn’t exactly interested in seeing this guy’s childhood Lego collection, and it made sense for us to hang at my apartment where there was unlimited vodka and no chaperones. 

Then came Easter.

I knew all about The Bartender’s complicated, symbol-heavy, Ukrainian Easter tradition. For weeks leading up to this particular year’s dinner, I’d been not so subtly gunning for an invitation to the main event, under the pretext that I’d wanted to see for myself just how strong you have to make homemade horseradish to invoke the passion of Christ. Of course, I was only pretending to care about Paska and whatever the hell Pysanka is. I needed to know Soul Patch was serious, and that meant meeting his damned parents. But every time I referenced the Resurrection, The Bartender found something else to talk about. 

By Good Friday my weekend was still wide open. I determined he just wasn’t into me, and we needed to break up. This time for good. I was pissed at his cowardly inability to just come out and say what seemed obvious. So, I confronted him. 

I fully expected to hear some excuse about how he wasn’t ready for a commitment and blah, blah, bullshit blah. But when I asked if my invitation had been lost in the mail, he was defensive and evasive. He didn’t want to break up, but I couldn’t come to dinner either. He refused to tell me why.

You already know what was happening here, but I didn’t. When I insisted he tell me what the eff was going on, he confessed that his father didn’t approve of our relationship. Uhm, what?

Growing up I was the kid other people’s parents wanted their kids to hang out with. A straight-A student, mature like a boss, I was a modern day, Catholic school, female Eddie Haskell.  

So, even when The Bartender said, “What’s the one thing you have that nobody else does?” I literally said, “RED HAIR?” 

I was that fucking clueless.

I made him say the words, not because I’d needed to hear them, but because I honestly didn’t know how someone who didn’t know me could possibly disapprove of me. It’s not you; it’s me your MS


(Not exactly a WWJD attitude if I'm remembering Sunday School correctly.)

The Bartender didn’t want to tell me, because he was trying to protect me. And when he spelled it out with those two vile letters – MS –  I was devastated. 

In the months that followed, whenever I would tell this story, I'd feel wounded all over again by the number of people who sympathized with The Bartender’s dad, telling me he was just trying to protect his son. My hurt feelings turned to alarm when I realized this wasn’t an isolated attitude. So many people were comfortable telling me how scary it would be to contemplate a future with me – like I was expected to roll over and accept that I’d become a poison to be avoided at all costs. How could I go through life thinking of myself in this way?

I couldn’t. I wouldn’t.

I know I can’t convince someone else of my worth, but I sure as hell can convince myself. I dug in my heels and refused to believe I was any less of a prize than I’d always been. I refused to accept that because I had MS, I wasn’t just as entitled to my happily-ever-after as my mother had always lead me to believe.

In the end, we didn’t break up. The Bartender held his ground with his father, while his mother sent me secret notes, letting me know I had at least one silent ally. And then, the following year, like the Ukrainian kielbasa that symbolizes God’s favour for some reason (look it up), I was unexpectedly invited to the Easter table.

Halle-freaking-luia

Eventually, The Bartender became The Banker and by the time we were married, his dad had come around. We never talked about the stand-off; they’re not that kind of family, but The Banker’s father danced with me at our wedding, and welcomed me to the family. 

Unexpectedly, one year later, my father-in-law died. I’ll never know what changed his mind about me, but I’ll always be grateful for his blessing on his son’s choice of bride, and for his willingness to open his heart to me.

I know there will always be people who believe it's acceptable for a father to try to prevent his son from being involved with someone with multiple sclerosis – even that it was the right thing to do. And that’s okay. I’m sure there are lots of people who don’t think they could handle having a partner with MS; a partner like me. That doesn’t make me less-than. 

It makes them not enough.  









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