Friday, 31 December 2010

Farewell, 2010

This has been one of the most emotionally challenging and personally satisfying years of my adult life.

Hm, that's not quite right, is it?

This has been the most personally satisfying year of my life.

Thanks to my friends and family for bringing so much love and laughter into my life. I couldn't ever ask for more than I have right now in this moment. I'm happy, healthy, and surrounded by fantastic, caring people. I am active again. I am joyful. 

2010's been great. Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Happy New Year!

Monday, 20 December 2010

drumroll, please...

I had a doctor's appointment today. Just a routine check-up for a prescription refill. As a footnote to the visit, my doc mentioned that she had my MRI results. I hadn't heard back from my neuro's office, so I wasn't expecting MRI news and had an immediate flutterby in my throat. I'm funny about knowledge; I don't like being on the empty-handed side of it. I want to be the holder and as soon as I'm aware that it's there for the taking, I want it immediately. Those moments before obtaining information about my health (or anything large, for that matter) are excruciating for me.

But my tiny moment of panic was for naught!

My MRI, as reported by the radiologist, included no lesions (plaques, scleroses, exacerbations, flares, whatever you want to call them) on my spine. That means the ones that were there 4 years ago are…gone. (slightly teary-eyed, one moment)

[tiny intermission]

In other good news, I have no apparent signs of new lesions on my brain. That's not to say the old lesions aren't there, but hell yeah that they haven't changed for the worse or made new friends up there!

Also, more yayness - no signs of lesions in other areas such as the brainstem or thoracic spine - where very symptomatic lesions can often be found.

So, that means, assuming the radiologist's interpretation is accurate and the resolution of the MRI is enough to go on, I have no actively enhancing lesions. Everything seems to be +1.

Life is good.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Get off the couch

I'm annoyed and this is a self-serving, petty post. There's your warning.

I like Facebook. I LOVE that I can interact with old friends and watch their children grow. It's a fun little realm. Increasingly, I am wondering if sites like this prevent real activism. Change my profile pic to join the fight against x cause. Change my status to join the fight against another. How does that help? It's inaction. It's less than lip service. Really. I need someone to explain it to me.

If you want to help a cause, please do something. Anything. Slacktivism is a slap in the face to the people who work hard to make political and social change. Doctors, police officers, social workers, volunteers and real activists (the ones donating real time and effort into causes) - these people are the ones making change. Not my Facebook status on any given day.

Want to support a cause? Find a fundraising campaign. Donate your money, or more importantly, your time. Research. Become educated. Get other people involved.

If you want to use social networking tools to be a nano-activist, try supporting causes that truly benefit from increased public attention.

A jpg of a Power Ranger doesn't change a damn thing in terms of joining a fight against child abuse. Neither does me telling the world my bra colour support breast cancer.

Expend your effort. Get your hands dirty. Raise funds. Volunteer. Get off your couch or stop pretending you are helping.

Sure, I might come off like an asshole here, but I'm an asshole who raises funds and donates to causes I support. 

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

I sleep in on Sundays

In my last post, I mentioned thanking deities and that got me thinking…

I myself don't thank deities. Nor do I praise them.

I don't believe in God.

I don't believe in any gods.

I don't pray to a divinity for thanks, strength or forgiveness.

I don't often talk about being an atheist (in public anyway) because I don't want to sound judgmental of other people or what they choose to believe. But this is my blog, after all, so I figured I'd jump in.

It wasn't always this way. I was born into a family that (mostly) believes. Well, my mother believes. I'm not sure what my father thinks about God or gods, but if he's a believer, he's certainly not devout. This balance gave me perspective growing up. On one side, I had my maternal family. Many of them churchgoers. Good, happy people. On the other side, I had my dad who would stay home on Easter Sunday and cook the turkey and prepare the vegetables while my mom bundled me and my brother off to Mass. Dad didn't seem any worse for wear for not kneeling on Sundays. Hmmm....

The first time I remember hearing the word "atheist" was on a family vacation, and I knew from my mother's tone that such a person was in the wrong. Not on the "good guys" team. Did not wear the white cowboy hat.

I went to Catholic school. I had religious calendars in my bedroom (me, P!nk, and the Virgin Mary have the same birthday!) and I said my prayers at night. I had (and still have) two pocket Bibles. I remember being in grade 7 or so and praying to God that He give me the divine inspiration to pass a math test. So, clearly, at some point, I was a believer. In full disclosure, I still find the Bible to be a fascinating book and I have read it cover to cover several times. I don't claim to understand the bears who maul children or the talking donkey, but I don't really think about them all that much.

As I got older I just stopped believing. I didn't stop believing in the goodness in the world, I just put my faith in fact. I developed my own opinions and observations. I won't get into why I'm an atheist here, but often happily take up the conversation when asked. Suffice it to say that it's not because of any single event or person. I didn't one day wake with MS and shake my fist at the sky asking why God had forsaken me. In fact, I was an atheist long before I had MS. I simply believe in biology, chemistry, and physics. I believe in nature and the sciences that uphold it.

If I had to compare my state of mind as a believer in my youth and my state of mind about religion now, I can firmly say that I'm happier now. I know that I do good things because I want to do good things, not for fear of damnation or heavenly rewards.

People have asked me why I still celebrate religious holidays, and that's fair. Christmas is right around the bend and I will definitely be feasting on Christmas day. For me, Christmas has lost religious meaning, and, to me, that's not a bad thing. It's a time for love, acceptance, happiness and warmth. That's all anyone really needs, isn't it?

I am still awed by the structure of churches in the same way that I am awed by natural caves on the shoreline. I choose not to pray in either.

a contented atheist

P.S. My injections since my last post have gone swimmingly well. No hours of frustration, just point and shoot. Life's funny that way.