So the year is 2011, I wonder what will the coming year have in store for me? 2010 was a year full of unplanned and unexpected events, some good and some bad. A lot happened in my life and nothing was planned or foreseen, things just happen and that’s life, we just have to learn to roll with it. For me that means trusting God and the plan He has for my life. This is not to say that I won’t make plans for myself and set my own personal goals, I just pray that I can stay on the path that God wants me to follow whatever and where ever that may lead. Who knew that 2010 would be the year that I’d find love and companionship again, something I couldn’t plan for but a long standing prayer finally answered. I also had a goal to be tested and treated for CCSVI but who would have ever thought that goal would lead me to Egypt! As much as we’d like to believe that we can control our destiny and the detailed happenings of our life, ultimately it is out of our hands. Not that we can’t affect the outcomes we experience through our individual actions and behavior but we must realize that even the most well thought out plans can come crashing down around us at any moment, hence my trust and faith in God! My true hope is that I will not experience any further progression with my MS symptoms and disabilities.
Having said that, I am still feeling pretty good although I have recently had some new difficulties arise. Actually they are not new; I just haven’t had to deal with this issue for a very long time. It is another neurological pain that I get in my shoulder and armpit and like always there isn’t any particular movement that seems to trigger it. It’s frustrating because there isn’t anything I can do to alleviate or prevent the pain. It is a sharp piercing type of pain that elicits an involuntary type of yelp as though I was just stabbed. Although this pain is new for the moment, it is a recurring problem from the past so I do not consider it as a new symptom or indication of an attack, just another issue to deal with. I was worried that it would hit me as I was working out but it hasn’t happened. I also thought it might affect me while I was skiing but again I was fine. It’s one of those things that I just have to wait out and eventually it will disappear on its own. About a week ago I thought it was gone because I hadn’t felt it in several days but it turns out that was just wishful thinking because it’s back however the pain is different now. Instead of being an instantaneous reactionary type of pain, it is now less intense but prolonged for many seconds and occasionally for up to half a minute. It’s more than something that comes and goes very briefly, I can experience prolonged periods, several hours at a time when the pain is not constant but very active throughout the entire time period and then it will fade away until the next episode starts again. I haven’t felt it today but that doesn’t mean it’s gone, problem is nobody knows when and if it will return.
I continue to stay active working out at least twice a week and skiing every Friday evening. I really enjoy skiing, it feels great to participate in a sporting activity and watch my abilities improve week to week. I was fortunately able to pick up right where I left off last year and each time out I get better. The conditions were very difficult last Friday because we had such warm weather throughout the week there was a lot of melting happening and by Friday evening it was snowing heavily and the temperatures had dropped resulting in the entire ski hill transforming into a huge sheet of ice! Then to make matters worse huge ruts had developed when the snow was soft and had now turned hard with the drop in temperature but worse yet was the problem that everything appeared fine under a covering of fresh new powder! Well everything wasn’t fine, quite dangerous actually. The supervisors had warned against going to the top and suggested to use the magic carpet or the snowmobiles to only go partial way up the hill. I tried that for my first run and then said “forget that noise, let’s jump on the chair and go to the top!” Well on my first ride up the chairlift we saw at least three injury wipeouts and a few people that had actually removed their skis and were walking down the hill! It was pretty crappy but I made it down fine, only a couple of wipeouts. I only did a few more runs that evening but I was quite impressed with myself as were my CADS ski partners!
In terms of follow up to my angioplasty procedure, I have an appointment with a vascular surgeon in March as well as an MRI. The MRI is scheduled to review the status of my brain to ensure that there are not any issues developing from my use of Tysabri. Everything feels fine but they are very cautious with the use of Tysabri these days. It will be very interesting to see if any new lesions have developed and what if anything has happened to my existing lesions. My appointment with the vascular surgeon will be even more interesting. I’m not expecting much but I am very curious to hear his thoughts on my collapsed jugular and his recommendations for what I should do next. Unfortunately I still won’t have the CD of my procedure; I don’t expect I’ll ever get that now. Dr. Sinan had told me that he would try to get this information from Dr. Sameh who runs the imaging in Alexandria but I’ve been down that road before without any success. Given the riots and turmoil that are going on in Egypt now, who knows if Dr. Sinan will even continue doing angioplasty procedures outside of Kuwait for foreign patients. I feel fortunate to have visited Egypt before any of this chaos began because the country has now changed dramatically.
Even though the country has been ruled by a dictator with an iron fist for years and years, this was not apparent in Egyptian society when I visited. However it was obviously felt by the Egyptian people given the demands for President Mubarak to step down immediately. Although I could sense uneasiness and perhaps fear of the police force and army, complete discontent with the government was not evident. I now worry for the people of Egypt regarding who will be the next to govern as it appears a hard-line Islamic regime will take over and I fear the people will fall into an even more oppressive state, women in particular. With everything that is going on in the region right now, I feel this will be a very critical and historic time not only for the Middle East but the world in general. My prayers will be with the people of Israel as significant changes take place in this part of the world! Even though I may complain about issues such as the inability to receive a simple medical procedure to treat CCSVI, I am extremely grateful to live in Canada, what I believe to be the best country in the world!
My attitude has always been to find happiness in what I do have and not lament over the things that I have lost. I feel fortunate for all of the blessing I have in my life, yes even with the challenges and hardship I face with having multiple sclerosis. It all goes back to the realization that things can always be worse! As I said earlier, I don’t know what the coming year will have in store for me but I’ll take it in stride, remain positive, thankful and hopeful. I’ll continue to take care of myself as best I can believing firmly that God has a plan for me and that ultimately everything will be alright. SMILE…it will only bring good!