Please Help Save the MS Clinic!

CaptureI learned something distressing before the MS Walk began this year.

The MS Clinic at the General Hospital could close in five days due to lack of funding.

This can’t be allowed to happen.

I can stress how amazing the MS Clinic has been to me since I was diagnosed with Relapse and Remitting Multiple Sclerosis six years ago.

When I first started seeing them, I could barely walk and was doing so with the aid of a cane. I was weak and tired all the time and had no energy and lived with vertigo and nausea, bladder problems, difficulty speaking and shaping words, bone crushing fatigue along with a healthy dose of brain fog. I didn’t know where I ended and the MS began. To say that I was lost is an understatement.

The Ottawa MS Clinic changed all that.

I remember my first visit with a neurologist. He was kind and gentle as he took me through a series of exercises that would set a baseline to measure my progress against. The entire time, he didn’t look at me like I was something to be frightened of. He actually listened to me and treated me with respect.

What’s more: he heard me.

He listened to me and everything that I have been through. He paid attention to my experiences with MS and then he told me that with care, we could learn to fight against the disease that raged inside my body.

This was the first time seeing a doctor that I was actually heard, that I was treated as if I knew what was wrong with my own body. I have been going to the Ottawa MS Clinic for six years now. The care I receive has only improved.

I am overjoyed every time I get to go in and see my current neurologist. I love her that much. Seeing her is a joy and a privilege. It’s as if I’m going in to meet a cherished friend every six months…because that’s exactly what I’m doing.

My neurologist has been with me through the highs and the lows of living with my disease. She has been a guiding force in how well I’m doing today.

Case in point, when I walked the MS Walk last year, it took me an hour and a half; this year I did it in an hour and ten minutes. I am stronger because of the clinics care and it can’t be allowed to close.

It’s not only me though. There are 3,500 patients (myself included) that receive the care and help they need from the Ottawa MS Clinic. If it closes, the closest MS Clinics are in Toronto and Kingston and there is an eighteen month wait to see a neurologist.

I would not get the kind of care that I do now if I had to travel to Toronto and Kingston. They wouldn’t know me and I would become just one in many, reduced from being a person with a heart and mind to just one amongst a crowd.

The Ottawa MS Clinic is looking at closure due to cuts in budgets and staffing made by the Ontario PC Government, led by Doug Ford. This cannot be allowed to happen. Too many people depended on it for the care that they give.

I, and the 3,499 other patrons of the Ottawa MS Clinic, need your help

There are a few things you can do.

There is a petition that you can sign and share to your social media to make sure that other see it and sign it. You can find that petition here:

https://www.change.org/p/jack-kitts-save-the-ottawa-ms-clinic?recruiter=false&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_initial&utm_term=share_petition&recruited_by_id=ba5da9e0-6a71-11e9-bcd2-d15e26028b0a&utm_content=fht-15196736-en-ca%3Av2

You can also email the people that hold the Ottawa MS Clinic in their hands:

President and CEO of Ottawa hospital at jbkitts@toh.ca

Chief of Staff of the Ottawa Hospital at vroth@toh.ca

President and CEO of the Ottawa Hospital Foundation at tkuke@toh.ca

Minister of Health at christine.elliot@pc.ola.org

You can also tweet your MP and your MPP like I did (see picture). In short, we all have a voice. It’s time we used it and spoke loudly and clearly so that we don’t lose the vital services that the Ottawa MS Clinic provides.

This really is about quality of life. Use your voice, speak up.

Please.

 

 

Memoriam for a Star – A Poem

StarThis is my fourth Pay It Forward offering. It’s for my cherished friend Brenda who passed away recently. I love you Brenda. You were a kindred spirit and you will always be remembered.

*

You were stardust given shape.

There was a light that glowed from within;

it shone on all that knew you.

Never have I known someone

who was so full of life,

so full of light.

Every time you looked upon me,

I could see it in your eyes

that you were completely present,

the light from within you

glowing like embers

in your gaze.

You lived with exuberance,

wanting to experience

all that life had to offer you.

Though your life was difficult,

you never let that light

that was within you fade,

never let it go away into the shadows.

You only looked upon the world

with eyes that saw only

the beautiful things in life.

When we travelled together,

the trips were a joy

not because of where we were,

but because you were with us.

I will always remember

riding down a road,

the hot air all around us,

all of us in a pink 1954 Cadillac.

I was in the front seat

and I looked back at you.

Your arms were thrown above your head,

and you let out a cry of absolute joy.

There were stars that streamed

from your fingers

to join the other in the sky.

I will remember you that way,

I will hear your laughter

and taste your joy upon my tongue

as it filled up the air around us.

You were stardust given shape

and now you reside in the stars

looking down upon us.

Whenever I think of you,

I will look to the starry sky

to see if I can spot you,

shining brighter than

all the rest.

Brenda
Brenda in Veradero  Cuba. 

The Timeless Spark – A Poem

The first time you held my hand,Spark

time stood still for us.

When our hands touched,

a spark ran along our skin,

and time ceased to matter.

Within that spark are memories

It holds them like photos

that it has been collecting

throughout our time together;

Within the spark that we have created

is the first time we kissed

and the first time you told me

that you loved me,

and the first time we travelled together,

stardust following us wherever we went.

Flipping through the memories,

I spot one that shines brighter than most.

It is the day when

you became my husband.

I set it down upon my skin

and watch as it pulses softly

with a light all its own.

You take my hand

and the spark now sits

between our two hands.

I look at you and wonder

what kind of magic

exists between us so that

years have passed and yet

it still feels as if we are living

within our first moment,

held safe in the spark

that passes along our skin.

As we celebrate another milestone,

and we begin our second year

as husbands, lovers and best friends,

I am so thankful

for the spark that led me to you.

Our love is timeless.

Looking at you,

the light of the spark

reflecting off of your skin,

I fall in love with you

all over again

and can’t wait to dance through time

with you by my side.

Nothing Without Us – An Anthology

54521649_10155779768371529_7661270492606627840_o.jpgI’m thrilled to announce that one of my stories will be appearing in the anthology Nothing Without Us.

I’m so honoured to have a story chosen for the anthology. It really is the first of its kind featuring stories about people with disabilities, written by people with disabilities and produced by people with disabilities. Within this book, characters with disabilities are the main character and deal with life head on. It’s a multi-genre, own-voice anthology of fiction stories with protagonists who are disabled, deaf, neurodiverse, Spoonie, and/or who manage mental illness.

It features stories by the following authors:NWU-Front-Cover.jpg

From the Editors

Foreword

The Bellwoods Golem, by Aus Bahadur

Knit One, Purl Two, Carolyn Charron

Names, by Jennifer Lee Rossman

Mafia Butterfly, by Raymond Luczak

Dress Rehearsal, by Nicole Zelniker

The Descent, by Jamieson Wolf

Bug Hunt, by Joanna Marsh

Oliver Gutierrez and the Walking Stick of Destiny, by Elliot Dunstant

Crutch. Cage, Sword, Kerfuffle, by Dorothy Palmer

Iron Bone, by J. Ivanel Johnson

Sometimes You…, by Tonya Libard

Search and Seizure, by Shannon Barnsley

Backbone, by Madona Skaff

The Case of the Silenco Scientist, by Maverick Smith

Flight, by George Zancola

Panic in Paradise, by Diana Koerner

The Blessing Cookies, by Laurie Stewart

Jungle Demon, by Tom Johnson

The Living Among the Dead, by Tasha Fierce

Alone, by Nathan Frechette

No Room at the Inn, by Emily Gillespie

Charity™, by Derek Newman-Stille

 

But here’s the thing. It needs your help. There is a Kickstarter campaign! You can learn more about the Kickstarter campaign here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/renaissancebp/nothing-without-us?ref=nav_search&result=project&term=Nothing%20Without%20Us

We’re about half way there but could use your help with getting to the finish line! This really is the first anthology of its kind and it would be an honour to see it out there in the world!

You can also learn more at the Nothing Without Us Facebook group! https://www.facebook.com/groups/1177886245719892/

Or at Renaissance Press: https://renaissancebookpress.com/

 

Five Years to Forever – A Poem

Five years ago,Rainbow sun

I had no way of knowing

that my life was

about to change.

There were no rainbows

around the sun,

no miraculous sightings of

wonderful and mysterious things,

no whisperings of magic.

There was nothing

to indicate how amazing

the day was about to become.

When I walked into the coffee shop,

I had no idea

that my life was about to change,

there was no flute music or the song of birds

and there was no soft sepia glow

cast over everything.

However, there was you.

I was enraptured by your smile,

by the sound of your voice

that reached into me.

I heard it not only around me

but your voice spoke to my heart

so that I heard your words within me.

I was intrigued by the warmth in your eyes

as they changed from grey to blue to green.

You had me entranced.

Though I am a writer of romance,

I did not believe in love at first sight

until I met you.

I thought for sure that

there must be some mistake,

that there was no way

I could love you so quickly,

but with each passing hour,

and each day that progressed,

the love I have for you

has only grown.

It is as if every moment,

every second, minute, hour and day,

had been preparing me

for when I met you.

I know that we are only

five years into our journey,

that this is a mere drop

in the bucket of time,

but I can’t wait to spend my life with you

as we make our way towards

forever.

 

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