Heidi (aka Margarita Mama) threw an Easter eve egg hunt for her kiddos and mine. Much fun ensued!
All of the blogging experts tell bloggers that we should never begin a post by apologizing for not posting more frequently. Well I’m going to break that rule today because I have been a bad blogger. I can’t remember the last time I wrote a real post, egads! My excuse is that life has been hectic and I just haven’t had time to write.
One of the reasons life was so hectic is the subject of this post. The Central Arkansas Walk MS was held Saturday, April 12 in Little Rock’s Riverfront Park. This was my second year to be part of the planning committee. There are 5 of us — Jennifer, our chairwoman; Marla, our media person; Judith, our volunteer wrangler; Chris, the man in charge of food; me, the woman in charge of Kids Zone, the photographers, Pet Zone and Team Village — plus the National MS Society’s Arkansas event coordinator, Lisa Fink, and the rest of the office staff, Carla, Brooke and Kristin!
The walk is a major fundraiser for Arkansas’ National MS Society office. The funds we raise help people in our community who suffer from multiple sclerosis. Those dollars also go to research as the MS Society tries to find a cure for this disease.
This walk is a labor of love for everyone who works on it. It is hard work, y’all. But it is so worth it when you see people grinning at the walk. When you see kids carrying signs that say they’re walking for mom. When you read the list of names on the chalkboard — names written by people who are walking for someone they love who has this disease. When your family, friends and coworkers show up on a Saturday morning to support you (I love Team Word Herders! You guys are awesome!)
And it is definitely worth it when the walk raises about $110,000, followed by about $60,000 in NW Arkansas at their walk!
So thanks to everyone who supported our efforts this year! Team Word Herders has raised $5,400 so far — and we’re not done yet. To everyone who helped, I hope you realize that you are a part of something really special — and we really appreciate you!
Of course this is where I’ll put a couple of fundraising plugs. If you haven’t given yet and you want to, please consider making a tax-deductible donation. Here is a link to my fundraising page.
If you’re on Facebook and you feel like shopping, then check out Team Word Herder’s auction page. This week and next week are the last two auctions for a while, so be sure and check it out!
Of course, no post about the MS Walk would be complete without some lots and lots of pictures! Enjoy!
Alaina is a big fan of puzzles! She started with a pretty simple 24 piece Minnie Mouse one. Then she tackled a 6o piece one that features puppy dogs. This weekend was all about Mike and Sully from Monster’s University!
Then of course, she had to tear it apart and start over again.
In case you haven’t heard, Wal-Mart has recalled its My Sweet Love / My Sweet Baby Cuddle Care Baby Doll. You can read about it here.
Apparently, the doll could get a fever and a cough when she was sick. She came with a stethoscope, feeding spoon, thermometer and syringe. Sounds pretty neat for the budding doctor. Unfortunately, the circuit board that caused the fever could overheat, causing blisters and burns on that same budding doctor. Umm, not good.
So Wal-Mart has issued a recall. If you have one of the dolls, remove the batteries and return it from Wal-Mart.
It is official. My little girl is growing up.
On July 26, she will turn 5.
The date is significant for two reasons.
1) My baby will be 5! Where has the time gone?!?
2) Alaina slides under the August 1 deadline to start kindergarten.
Say what? Yup, my little girl is going to start kindergarten this fall.
I’ve been fretting over this possibility for the past two years. But late last year, Matt and I sat down with Alaina’s daycare teacher and discussed our options. I was leaning toward one more year of daycare/Pre-K somewhere. I was concerned about Alaina being the youngest kid in her class — would she be mentally, physically and emotionally ready for school? Matt was undecided. But Alaina’s daycare teacher was confident that our little girl would be ready for kindergarten.
So last week, Matt, Alaina and I went to a nearby elementary school for kindergarten registration. I was worried about how Alaina would react to a new school environment.
Once again, my child laughed at my fears.
As Matt and I filled out paperwork, Alaina was walking around the cafeteria, hugging all of the office workers who were helping with registration. More than one woman told me that she’d be more than happy to take Alaina home with her.
After filling out the paperwork, we got to check out a kindergarten classroom. As the kids sat around little tables (too cute!) one of the teachers told us a little about what we could expect out of kindergarten.
Wow, kindergarten is not how it was when I was growing up. At my school in Kentucky, I only went for a half day. We colored, we cut things with scissors, we glued stuff. We weren’t learning to read. We weren’t doing easy multiplication problems. It is amazing how much things have changed in 30 years.
Throughout our visit, Alaina was grinning. In fact, she was a little disappointed when we told her she wouldn’t be returning to her new school the next day.
So I guess come August, I’ll have a kindergartner in the house. When did my baby get so big?
Being a mom is a tremendous blessing. Of course, like anything else, sometimes in the busy day-to-day, it is all too easy to forget that. But then, your child (or children) will do something to remind you.
This morning was one of those times for me.
I woke up about 3:45 in the midst of a coughing fit. It’s Spring, which means my sinuses are draining. Blech. So I hacked and I hacked until eventually I just got up.
I was eventually able to go back to bed about 4:30 and was not looking forward to my alarm clock going off at 7 a.m.
But something really sweet happened as my alarm started going off. Alaina came into my room, closed the door and walked to my side of the bed. Then she told me, “Mommy, I want to snuggle.”
So I pulled her onto the bed and we proceeded to snuggle for 5-10 minutes. Normally if she wants to snuggle, its a minute or two, tops. But not today.
Today she apparently needed that snuggle time just as much as I did. As Alaina gets older, snuggle time happens less and less, which made today’s wake-up cuddles all the sweeter.
Alaina celebrates her Irish roots (and her love of hats).
This is a pretty awesome rap about multiple sclerosis. There are a couple of exaggerations, which are noted in the video, but still a pretty good explanation about the disease.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, then you’re aware I have multiple sclerosis. If you’re new to the blog, well, I have multiple sclerosis.
I was diagnosed in July 2011, about a week before Alaina’s 2nd birthday. But my symptoms started about two months earlier, when I was rushed to the hospital after having a seizure. You see, one Sunday afternoon I had a wicked headache. I told Matt I was going to take a nap in hopes of sleeping the headache off. An hour or two later, he heard me yelling. When he went to our bedroom, he saw me in the middle of a tonic-clonic (used to be called Grand Mal) seizure. (Having viewed videos of people in the middle of a tonic-clonic seizure, I feel so bad for my husband. These are incredibly scary things to watch. I’m sure I was scared during, but I don’t remember anything about it, so there’s that. In fact, I don’t remember anything about the rest of that day. It’s all gone.)
He called 911 and paramedics came to take me to the hospital. Doctors thought I had viral meningitis. They ran lots of tests to look at my brain (including in MRI) and to find the virus, but no luck. As part of my follow-up care, my primary care physician referred me to a neurologist. Since they had never identified the virus and I had been having other MS symptoms since leaving the hospital — namely, pins and needles in my hands, which I was blaming on my anti-seizure drug — she started putting the pieces together and suspected MS. An MRI, taken eight weeks after my hospital stay, confirmed her suspicions.
In eight weeks since the first MRI of my brain, I had a couple of new lesions on the brain, as well as other lesions that had shrunk or grown. They call this waxing and waning of the myelin sheath — and it isn’t good news. Basically, my immune system was attacking my myelin sheath — in other words, my body was attacking my brain.
“Neurons are the structures in the nervous system that allow us to think, see, hear, speak, feel, eliminate and move. Each neuron is made up of a cell body and an axon (the extension of the cell body that carries messages). Most of the axons in the central nervous system are wrapped in myelin, a substance rich in lipids (fatty substances) and proteins. Like the coating around an electrical wire, myelin insulates and protects the axon and helps speed nerve transmission.” – from the National MS Society
When the myelin sheath is damaged, the signals from the brain aren’t transmitted as effectively. The brain and/or spinal cord, doesn’t work properly.
MS is a very personalized disease. My MS is very different from my friends’ MS — but there are some commonalities. Some of the most common symptoms are fatigue, memory loss, the MS Hug (where it feels like something is wrapped tightly around your trunk to the point it causes pain), pins and needles effect, optic neuritis (a diminishing of vision until partial blindness occurs — for many MS patients it is temporary) loss of sensation in your extremities, loss of control of your extremities. The list really does go on and on. However, seizures aren’t a “normal” MS symptom, which is why the doctors at the hospital didn’t immediately think MS.
Fast forward 2 1/2 years to now: I’m doing pretty well. I’m on a daily injection therapy called Copaxone. Its goal is to keep you in remission and extend the amount of time between relapses, also called flare-ups. I haven’t had a relapse since my original episode. *knock on wood!* I battle fatigue, but if I listen to my body and don’t overextend myself, it is manageable.
In case you’re wondering why the drug I’m on just tries to buy you time between flare-ups: There is no cure for MS. Right now, scientists don’t know what causes MS — they have isolated some commonalities among people who have MS, (for example, having mono or shingles as an adult seems to increase your chances of developing the disease) but they haven’t found the smoking gun. So the therapies, just try to minimize the attacks.
One of the things I’ve done since my diagnosis is try to raise money and awareness about MS. I’m a co-captain of a Walk MS team called The Word Herders. My friend Jennifer started this team after her diagnosis in 2010. April 2011 was the team’s first walk — and I was there. A month later, I was in the hospital and two months after that, I was in the MS camp with her.
She is the chairman of the Central Arkansas MS Walk for the second year in a row — go Jennifer! And I’m once again on the steering committee. We’re planning a fantastic walk for next month!
So I’m ending my story post with a couple of pleas. Please join the Word Herders on Saturday, April 12 in Little Rock’s Riverfront Park for the MS Walk. Its about a mile, so you don’t have to be in good shape to walk it. It is a wheelchair-accessible route. Click here to sign up.
If you can’t join us (or be a virtual walker!), then please consider making a donation. The money all goes to the National MS Society. The society is very involved in research and in helping people with MS. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation.
I also invite you to check out the Word Herders Auction Page on Facebook. Each Sunday/Monday, a new batch of goodies (think handbags, jewelry, watches, artwork, etc) goes on the auction block. The auctions end Saturday evening.
Last of all, wear ORANGE on Saturday and Sunday. And if someone asks you why you’re wearing ORANGE, tell them you want to raise awareness of multiple sclerosis!