Monday, December 13, 2010

Finally An Update

So I have been amazingly busy since I last wrote. Schoolwork will do that to you. However, the semester is winding down and I have time actually sit and write (or type) something other than an Economics paper.

I also have a new reader who has been nagging me for something new for awhile now, so Erin, quit bugging me.

I have to admit that the past few months have been great for my mind, but not my waist. I am hungry all the time. I can only attribute that to the amount of knowledge my brain is trying to process. It uses up a lot of fuel, you know, and I am craving carbs like nobody’s business. I remember being like this in university. Anyway, the point is that the more I do mentally, the hungrier I get. That’s one of the more interesting side effects of school.

A less interesting side effect, is the fatigue. I have begun taking amantadine once or twice a week to battle the fatigue that hits me. I’m good for most of the day, except on a couple of really heavy days. Our classes range from an hour to two hours long, and sitting all that time, sometimes in the dark while watching a powerpoint lesson, can just drain me of the energy needed to sit up straight. I have to admit to having availed myself of the couches scattered around the building for a rest. But I’m not the only one.

Around October, I realized that I was not going to get through accounting without some back up. It just wasn’t sinking in, so I, and several others, actually, requested a tutor. Sadly, they were swamped with those requests and it was several weeks before one of my classmates and I managed to snag one. She’s great and we’re both back on track. I had begun to think that maybe I shouldn’t concentrate on accounting my second year, which was my plan from the beginning. The whole point of going back to school to begin with, anyway. But, as I mentioned, I’m back on track. And who knew bank reconciliations could be so much fun? They’re like big puzzles.

Economics was an absolute blast. The instructor we had was so good, that the subject I dreaded the most has turned out to be the one I learned the most from and enjoyed the most. I actually pay attention to the business news now and read that section of the paper.

Marketing has been interesting, usually. I did take marketing in university (when dinosaurs roamed the planet), and having worked in media, especially promotions and advertising, has been an advantage for me. I had actually thought about a career in marketing 25 years ago, but never pursued that line. If I did follow that path today, it would be in research.

I was also in a computer course. Those of you who know me, know that I am technologically inept. Yes, I can e-mail, and I write a blog online, and I can download my pictures, but I really didn’t understand all that I was doing. I still don’t understand it all, but I have a better idea of what this process is. And my confidence level in my computing abilities has gone up 100%. For one of my Economics projects, I had the Wookie video an interview I did with a farmer about the economics of farming. The Wookie downloaded the video and I edited the thing myself. I threw in titles and script and even had a few outtakes at the end. I impressed the crap outta myself with that one. I’m throwing stuff on thumb drives, using tabs properly, and all the usual stuff folks take for granted who do this on a regular basis. Next semester we get into spreadsheets and databases (woo hoo!).

The Communications course I am taking has to be the least interesting of the bunch. I am learning a few things as far as grammar goes (I can tell the difference between infinitive phrases and verb phrases for instance), but so far I am not really getting too much out of this one. Maybe things will heat up in January. I hope so.

That leaves math, one of my strongest subjects. But now, all that algebra I learned in high school has a real life application. It only took 30 years to discover what that application is. But at least I now know it. Our instructor is really good and is also a grad of my alma matter, albeit 10 years before me.

So that’s life on the academic front. On the home front, the Wookie has been really good. On my busier days, he gets dinner ready. And the poor man has had to listen to me go on ad nauseum about all subjects until I work out what I’m trying to understand. Which has led to the discovery that if I can talk it out, I can understand it better. Who knew? Apparently, the Wookie. He was the one who brought it to my attention.

I have also discovered that the dollar store reading glasses are great. Turns out, not only am I near sighted, but need stronger bifocals than what I have on my lenses now. Which leads me to the question, “If I’m near sighted, why can’t I read the numbers in my math book or the nutritional labels on cans?” One of life’s paradoxes I guess.

On the MS front, things are well, except for the fatigue, but I’ve already discussed that. I have had a few people ask me about the subject of CCSVI and I try to enlighten them about what the theory is and why the MS Society hasn’t jumped all over it the way a number of people want them to. Again, I will say, there is no SCIENTIFIC evidence yet to support the theory that narrowing of the neck veins has anything to do with MS. There are current studies under way to determine if there is a connection. If one is found, the MS Society of Canada and the National MS Society in the US will look closer at possible clinical trials. In the meantime, some people will continue to have good, bad, and indifferent results with the treatment. Remember, too, folks, I have been on Avonex for 11 years, with only one attack in all that time. Avonex is working for me, so if it ain’t broke, as they say, don’t fix it. I will not undergo an experimental treatment that in my mind, makes little sense to the mechanics of MS. Remember, too, that I am part of an ongoing study, where my blood is tested regularly to examine the role my personal biology plays in the effectiveness of Avonex. I have also been recently informed that a follow up study is soon to get under way of those of us in the initial CHAMPS study for Avonex to see how it’s working long term.

I was saddened, but not surprised, to learn of the death of a Canadian man who underwent the treatment for CCSVI, then received a stent to keep his veins open, which probably led to his passing. I abhor the fact that this disease can make some people so desperate for a treatment they risk their lives. This simply reinforces my feeling that we must continue to raise funds for research and treatment, we must continue to educate the public about this disease, and we must continue to take care of those less physically able than ourselves. I urge any and all MS patients and their loved ones to continue to spread the word about MS, to take any opportunity to educate others about MS, and to keep the faith - we will end MS.


PS: Next time, I’ll post some pics.