The return of the travelling MSer..À Montréal!



Bonjour blogosphere! 

I’ve just returned home from a few nights away with the boyfriend in Montreal, and it was a great little getaway! It definitely helped scratch that travel itch a little bit. While the weather wasn’t any better than at home (-35 with the windchill when we got there!) it was still good to get out of Toronto for a little while. 

Now the trip didn’t really start off that smoothly due to a silly mistake by me. I got us a great deal on the train… Just in March instead of February.. Oops! Thankfully though they were able to get us on one that day instead, for a hefty fee, but it was worth it! When we got to Montreal, we also ended up having to switch hotels as the first one was really gross, and nothing like it was advertised as. Not much I hate more than a dirty hotel room! But we got it all figured out in the end and started on our mini vacation, with lots of eating, drinking, and relaxing! 

Let’s talk a bit more about the eating.  Montreal is a food city! And being the “foodie” that I am, I was excited to try some new places. I think my favourite was on our first night. We went to an Egyptian restaurant near our hotel called “La Folie du Koshary”. It was great! Really inexpensive little place, with delicious food and friendly staff. Another highlight was of course the smoked meat. We went for a sandwich at Ruebens deli downtown. I was a bit skeptical of going anywhere other than the famous Schwartz’s deli for this but I was happy with it! And it was easier for us to get to as Schwartz’s is a bit out of the way from the downtown core. 

I suppose we also did a couple other activities, other than eating. Since it was so cold, one of my favourite things was the Scandinavian baths at a local spa! They called it the “thermal experience”, where you’re supposed to go from hot to cold, which apparently releases toxins as you do. For me, I mostly just wanted to soak in the warm tubs to get away from the cold and soothe my achey muscles, which it definitely did! We were supposed to sit in the hot tub, or sauna for 15-20 minutes then jump into the cold tub, which was 17 degrees. We didn’t last for that long in the hot tub, and didn’t bother with the sauna, because heat and MS are known to not get along, and it was too hot for both of us! But the hot tub was perfect, we did about five to ten minutes at a time. Even though it did made my legs go to jelly a bit, it was so soothing I didn’t care. I tried the cold tub once, and that was enough for me. My body didn’t like the extreme temperature changes. But I’m glad I tried it! Definitely an interesting experience. 

We also visited the fine arts museum while we were there, which was free to us because we’re both under 30! This was a nice surprise since we started the trip out over budget because of our last minute changes. It was really nice to walk around at our own pace looking at it all, and even though I did need to take plenty of breaks, I still enjoyed it! And they of course had a cafe right in the museum where you can do just that, and incase you wanted to do even more Montreal style eating. 



Some of the museum highlights!



So in the end I had a great trip, hiccups and all. It worked out and I’m really glad we got to do it, and thankful for having such a lovley, understanding man in my life who really doesn’t mind when I just need to sit for a while or take it slow. Montreal can be a hard one to get around sometimes, old buildings that aren’t very accessible, rickety stairs and lots of hills, but we made it work, and really enjoyed it. 

Now on to planning the next one!

M

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The joy of neurologists.

Fair warning, this is going to be a real ranty post. It’s just been one of those days!

I had an appointment today with my neurologist, and I’m just more frustrated than I can even explain right now. I don’t remember the last time I’ve been there and not left in tears. Probably because there hasn’t really been one..

Today was another pretty awful experience. Not only did the doctor make me feel like he was chastising me for contacting the clinic to ask questions, or for bringing up my “many symptoms” when I see him, but when I brought up the idea of changing meds, he tried to just shut me down before even discussing it. We talked about this the last time I saw him and the same thing happened. Now 6 months later, and I’ve continues feeling really unwell, just so run down all of the time, so I was determined to bring it up again.

The conversation didn’t really start well, but thankfully I had my father there with me today for support, and I’m glad I did because he was able to push the matter a bit more when the doctor tried to just dismiss my concerns. We talked for a while and went back and forth and it basically ended with him saying that it’s my decision, though he warned me it could be a risk going off of it in the time I would need to start something else. In the end he sent me to speak with the clinic’s nurse about my options. Now this is where it gets even more confusing. When speaking with her, it came out that I should be stopping the meds I’m on right now anyways, at least for a while, because my lymphocyte count is way too low. Now my last blood test was almost two months ago, and this is where she is getting the latest numbers, so my question is…why hasn’t anyone seen my results in that time? Shouldn’t someone have told me? And why is it that when I asked the doctor about changing drugs, did he not notice that he should be telling me that I needed to stop taking it. He even discouraged me from the idea of stopping for the amount of time I would need to in order to start another medication..but.. Now I have to stop anyways… WHAT! This has all left me with little faith that anyone in the medical world is looking out for me at this point. I kind of feel like I would be better off monitoring my results myself.

Now I’m sitting at the blood lab, waiting to have another blood test, which I now have to do every two weeks until my levels even out, and then I can decide which drug to take. It sort of feels like I’m on my own to figure out what the best way to go from here is…

Anyways, I really needed to get all that off of my chest. But now that I’ve calmed down a bit, I’m trying to shake it off, and am planning to just try to keep things moving, and possibly look into switching to another hospital to get away from the negativity I’ve encountered at this one.

And now I’m going to try and just focus on more exciting things, like my upcoming trip to Montreal!

Deep breath!

M

The singing MSer?

Now I wouldn’t say that having MS in itself feels very positive most of the time, but there are definitely some positives that have come out of my diagnosis. Before MS, I really allowed fear to hold me back in many areas of my life. I kept myself in a comfort zone, and was too scared to push myself outside of it. With all of the hard parts of having MS, the biggest positive has definitely been the feeling of wanting to push myself beyond that comfort zone, and try new things! One of the things I had always wanted to do, but allowed fear to hold me back from, is singing. Singing was always a sort of secret passion of mine. It was something I had always wanted to do, but was too scared to try. In high school friends of mine took a musical theatre class that put a play on each year, that I always wanted to take part in but was too scared to sign up for! I’ve always had a bit of stage fright, and avoided it because of that. But some time after I was diagnosed, and was feeling stuck and unproductive, I wanted to find something that would excite me again, something that would bring some happiness to my life. This was the time I started taking singing lessons. I wanted to try and get myself more comfortable with my voice, to learn how to control it, and maybe even one day sing in front of other people! I met a wonderful woman who would become my singing teacher and friend, and I’ve been taking lessons with her ever since. I even joined a singing group she started that meets every week, which was a big step for me as far as singing in front of other people goes!

Earlier this week, my singing teacher asked me to sing back up vocals for her with another student of hers at an upcoming show she’s having, performing her original songs (which are beautiful by the way! Check her out on iTunes- https://itun.es/ca/jAqV1 ). This is a huge step for me, and while I’m still terribly nervous, I’m also really excited, and feel proud of myself for even agreeing to do it! Lately I’ve been struggling a bit, this winter hasn’t been kind to me and I’ve been sick a lot, and just feeling really run down. Feeling this way can sometimes make it hard to see past the negatives of MS. It can be tough to stay positive. It’s hard not to get down sometimes, but stuff like this performance really helps to remind me of all of the things that having MS has brought to my life, and encourages me to try not to focus on just what it has taken away.

M