I 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:
You can also email the people that hold the Ottawa MS Clinic in their hands:
President and CEO of Ottawa hospital at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief of Staff of the Ottawa Hospital at email@example.com
President and CEO of the Ottawa Hospital Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org
Minister of Health at email@example.com
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.
This 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.
The first time you held my hand,
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.
I’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:
From the Editors
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 ago,
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