Thursday, May 28, 2009

It's My MS-iversary

One year ago today I received my "official" diagnosis of MS from a neurologist. What a year it's been! When I reminded GH about it today, he said, "Un-gratulations!" What a thoughtful GH!

In retrospect, it really hasn't been a bad year. I have been extremely fortunate, in that I have not had any exacerbations. Some minorly annoying symptoms, yes, but nothing too troublesome.

What have I learned from my first year of living with MS? A lot. I slow down and listen to my body when it speaks (at least most of the time). I have tried to make some lifestyle changes (made my Copaxone injection a part of my daily routine, tried to quit smoking, but have fallen off that wagon) and will hopefully make more, one babystep at a time. I have learned to be proactive and be my own advocate when dealing with my medical professionals and how to yell at insurance companies without cursing at them. I have learned to become part of the political process in a more active role than I have ever played before.

I have learned where to get reliable information about MS symptom management and support. The MS blogosphere is a fantastically informative and encouraging space. I have become active with my chapter of the National MS Society, having attended workshops and fundraising events and I fully intend to do more in the future.

I have learned that there are comfortable, stable and cute shoes for low prices. I am constantly reminded of how many people in my life care about me and want to help. I have also developed a deeper personal faith in God, who continues to smile upon me.

The main thing I have learned is just how incredibly blessed I am. Thank you all for helping me along this road less traveled. I could have curled up in the fetal position and stayed there for the last year, but with everyone's help and encouragement, I came out to play.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Another Semester Ended

Well, I've come to the close of another semester in my continued efforts to get my BA in English. I started this quest in 2005 and now it looks like I'll graduate next May (2010). There are a few hurdles to jump through, though. See, I'm classified as a "transfer student" since I transferred many credits from my first round of college in the mid-to-late 80s.

The glitch is that the university for which I work requires that transfer students complete 45 hours at this university. So I was like, "What?! I have to take 15 more hours before I get a degree?" However, my dad, of all people, came up with an idea in a phone conversation several months ago. He said, "Can't you apply those 15 hours toward a Master's degree?" Hmm. Interesting thought. So, when I went to my advising appointment last month for the upcoming fall semester, I broached the subject with my advisor. He was very enthusiastic and told me I would be a great candidate for grad school. He then outlined the steps I would need to take to accomplish this.

I waited until I received my grade for the Mark Twain course this semester (an A! Woohoo!) until I discussed this with GH. For some odd reason, I thought he would bitch and moan about me using more of our time together to further my education. Boy, was I wrong! He was more excited at the prospect than I was!

So my next course of action will be to write a letter to request an exception to the Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences to allow me to graduate with my BA next May and finish the remaining 15 hours applied to a Master's in English. If approved, I will then need to take the GRE (which one friend assured me would be time-consuming but not extremely difficult) and apply to the Graduate School, which will require three letters of recommendation from professors familiar with my work. I already have two professors who have committed to writing the letters. This summer will be interesting, indeed!

You may ask, "What does this have to do with MS?" I'll tell you. I feel that engaging my brain in analytical thinking on a regular basis really helps with my cognitive functions. Ergo, as long as I keep studying and reading with a purpose, I will hopefully stave off any attacks by my Dawson's Fingers on my cognitive functions.

Hopefully, I'll graduate with a Master's in English in 2015, maybe?


Monday, May 11, 2009

A New Blog for Caregivers

My darling GH, whom I've mentioned numerous times in my blog, has started his own blog for caregivers. It is titled "Brainfingers". I hope you sisters and brothers out there will persuade your significant others to stop by his blog.

After attending several MS seminars with me, he really feels a need to share with others, especially men, dealing with a loved one's coping with MS.

He is my rock who never lets me feel too sorry for myself and kicks my ass when needed for motivation.

Please feel free to pass the link along to other MSers and caregivers.

I'll have an update on my recent doings in the next couple of days. So much exciting stuff to share!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Quick Note

I have not forgotten about y'all! I have been extremely busy with traveling to Houston last week on business and finishing my paper for my Mark Twain seminar. I have over 150 post from the MS blogosphere to read/scan/delete, but I'll be back very soon, I promise!