May 23, 2008

Turkey Vibe

Posted in multiple sclerosis tagged , , at 1:56 am by melissasummers

After moving from the city quite some time ago, I quickly learned that country life was not as secluded as it initially appeared.  The neighborhood is filled with a variety of folk of the natural sort.

It has been a learning experience for me as I have in the past, found uninvited creatures in my home, and had to quickly learn to watch for wildlife not obeying traffic signs or rules of the road.   Earlier this week I had a close call during my morning commute with a rather large, rather ugly and rather ungainly wild turkey.

My past experiences with turkeys have been fairly consistent..I drive down the road, look off into the fields and see a few turkeys loitering on occasion.  So, I was a little slow to identify the dark lumbering, flapping shape that was quickly but awkwardly advancing into the road.

Time slowed to a crawl as my brain raced to solve the mathematical equation:  If a Pontiac Vibe at Point A is traveling east at 55 mph, and a turkey at Point B is traveling southwest at a surprisingly quick pace, will they collide at Point C?   Yes! Arrghh! 

Time resumed it’s natural fact it may have sped up a notch!  The turkey cumbersomely waved it’s wings in the air attempting to raise it’s bulk from the earth.  Amazingly to me, the bird began to gain loft.  I say this is amazing, because I guess i didn’t know that turkeys could fly.  Now to call this process a graceful one would be quite false. He tottered in air, flopped , legs flailing behind. Luckily, his altitude was just enough to clear the hood of my car, leaving just his knobby legs to drag across the windshield.

In the end the turkey successfully crossed the road, the car suffered no indentations and I was left a bit in awe over the fact that turkeys fly awkwardly.

I have had many close encounters of the wildlife kind. It has been a few days and the turkey event has stayed in the forefront of my mind.  There is a reason that I experienced this particular event, a lesson was to be learned somewhere.  I thought long and hard over this story and then I came to this conclusion. This turkey had a difficult time taking flight, he did not give up trying, he gave that action 100 percent of his ability. I realize that no matter how ungainly, awkward, ungraceful or lumbering one feels that if you set your mind to accomplish something anything can be achieved.  Of course, yes this bird had a reason of self preservation to give him a boost..but lets just ignore that fact for now!

Turkey vs. Vibe = Turkey Vibe.  My new saying for when I feel as if my accomplishments are a touch out of reach..and it’s just silly enough for me not to forget!


May 17, 2008

Aches and Interferons

Posted in multiple sclerosis tagged , , at 12:30 pm by melissasummers

I am very lucky that I was diagnosed in this decade.  There are many that did not have the benefit of having interferon therapy available to slow down the disease progression.  Interferons do not cure MS, they slow down the disease process, help the nerves heal better after a relapse , however they do not work for everyone.

When dealing with interferons, one must get over any needle phobia. For myself, I had no trouble with the fact that I had to inject myself, what I do have trouble with is that the interferons make me ill.  One of the most common side effects is flu-like symptoms which ease up over time.  Flu like symptoms was a major understatement the first month I began injecting myself! I was very ill with fever, tremors and nausea.  Now, seven months later, I still get ill on occasion with a fever.

So, here I am on a spring Saturday morning, my neck, elbows, hips and ankles aching from a mild fever. I don’t like it.  I don’t have to like it.  So many personal MS stories that I have read early on in the disease were so optimistic, how bright and cheery life can be with this disease.  The negatives are frosted over in these tales with chocolate icing, hiding the fact that there is no sugar in the cake. I am not saying that life cannot be bright and cheery by no means, I am saying that it is perfectly normal to have moments where you can be free to say “I don’t like this!” and “No cake for me, thank you”.  I know how important a tool interferons are to fight this disease. I realize that my injections played a major role in my fast recovery on my last relapse. I harbor no ill feelings towards them..I share my life with them..make accomodating adjustments like a perfect hostess…and it’s okay that I just don’t like it.

May 7, 2008

National MS Walk 2008

Posted in multiple sclerosis tagged , , , , at 9:54 pm by melissasummers

This years walk was simply amazing. It is difficult to find the words to properly explain the emotions, the atmosphere and even the physical portion of the walk.

The small town of Frankenmuth was crowded by those that came to walk, volunteer and support the efforts against Multiple Sclerosis.  The walkers were many and varied. There were those that walked fast, some took a pleasant stroll, some had wheelchairs or scooters, and there were some that walked those 3 miles with the supporting arms of friends and family keeping them on their feet.  There are days on this earth when we ALL feel tired, feel like we might collapse if we take another step.  There are times when we feel that we are physically unable to accomplish something due to limitations.  No one is immune from these feeling regardless of health or physical status.  But, the mind and the heart are powerful forces, nothing is impossible. Need proof?  Attend one of these events.  Watch the heart take control of the body. Watch those that can barely stand pass under the finish line balloon arch. Watch their eyes.  Were they letting their body tell them that was an impossible feat?

Now this years walk, just as the year before took place 2 months after I had lost use of a leg.  So yes, the walk for me has been a challenge…not sure if that is the correct word to use. Let’s just say the walk is my way of telling my body, who is in charge.  So not only am I raising money to further research and help fund education, but this event also has helped raise spirits and faith within me.


This year, I was accompanied by an official team!   Now not only did I physically have five individuals with me on that overcast spring day, but I had an uncountable number of those that were with me in heart, mind and spirit.  For everyone involved, I thank you all dearly.


I also have a very special thank you to my virtual but very real friends.  For those that spend most of their time on the material “real life” plane, I would like to introduce to you my virtual friends.  On an online community that replicates real life, but with fun added extras like flying, I work with a large group of amazingly talented and generous musicians. Routinely, they perform concerts from their home, stream it online into a virtual world. Now some of these musicians played in a nine hour benefit to raise funds for my walk.  And raise funds they did!  The total donations reached almost 300 dollars. Below is a picture of myself standing next to my virtual self “Summer” in the green dress. Around me are a few the the wonderful musicians from various parts of the world that donated their time and talent to raise funds for my walk.  Thank you First Call Musicians Cooperative, for your generosity and support in the past year.