Month: March 2011

Liberation Countdown

I can’t believe it’s already the end of March.  I also can’t believe that Chuck and I are going to leave for Florida tomorrow!  I think I have everything packed and ready to go.  The kitties are ready for their daily visit with their little Grandmother (thanks again, Lil’ mom!)  I’m going to miss them so much!  Mya and Abby were sitting together in the sun yesterday and I got a good shot of their little googly faces:
 

 

I’m also going to miss my two other perfect little goobers, Pinky and Boo:

I will be bringing my iPad and laptop with my to Florida, so I hope to have internet access in order to do my blogs.  I’m pretty sure there is wifi in certain areas at Sun N Fun.

Stay tuned for the Liberation Treatment updates over the next few days.  I have my consultation at the clinic on Monday, April 4th and the surgery is on Tuesday morning.  I can’t tell if I’m more excited or nervous!

Today’s symptoms:  I had quite a bit of energy today, I think because I’m pumped up about our trip.  I hope I’m able to maintain this energy level for at least the next three days!

Posted by Lizzy McFly at 3/31/2011 7:26 PM

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It’s A Public Place…

I had my Tysabri shot on Friday afternoon.  The infusion itself went fine, but as usual, I didn’t feel too well afterwards.  Chuck and I got home around 5:00.  We picked up subs on the way.  I think I crawled into bed around 7:00, slept for over an hour, then went back to bed at 10:30.  I was out until around 8:30 Saturday morning.  As with the last two infusions, the day after was spent in bed – very weak, fatigued and achy.  Fortunately, I slept in until after 11:00 (holy cow!) on Sunday, and felt quite a bit better.  My little mother came to visit me.  We decided to go to the PEN Centre, first stopping at the Tim Hortons in the mall.  There were two long line-ups and the tables were all taken.  A couple got up and my mother grabbed the four-seater table while I ordered our food.  I was totally shocked when I looked over at my mother, and there was a woman sitting next to her.  For a split second, I thought maybe she knew her, but then my mother gave me a look that said it all.  She had no clue who this woman was and was not impressed with her sitting there.  I walked over with our coffees, muffin and bagel.  The woman immediately said “This is a public place.  I can sit here if I want!”  I just said something to the effect of “whatever” and spread our food out on the table.  It was so obvious how annoyed my mother was.  I took our purses and put them on the chair next to me.  My mother said “I think the person she’s with is coming over.”  I just said “That’s nice” and didn’t move the purses.  I made sure our food (which wasn’t much!) was occupying the whole table.  A few minutes after I sat down, our visitor departed.  My mother said how rude this woman was to her.  She didn’t even ask if she could sit there.  When my mother said “I have someone coming” the woman just repeated that it was a public place and she could sit where she wanted.  I’m really glad she or the other person didn’t touch our purses, so they could use the chair.  I would have FLIPPED!  Oh, I would have made such a scene!  I was over tired, feeling icky, and didn’t have the patience to deal with rude people.  Other than that little ordeal, we had a nice time at the mall.

 

The weather was perfect all weekend, which was a bit of a bummer for me since I wasn’t feeling well enough to fly.  I was feeling much better today so I took some vacation time and headed out to the airport.  You’ll be thrilled to know that my new seat cushion is perfect!

I flew along the Lake Ontario shoreline.  You get a whole new perspective of the Escarpment from up there:

I headed toward Hamilton, then South before entering their airspace.  I flew down toward Lake Erie and passed the Dunnville Airport:

Then over to Port Maitland (at the mouth of the Grand River):

I thought the old lighthouse just off the shore was kinda neat:

I noticed a boat heading up the canal.  Despite how far away the boat was from the bridge, I was surprised to see the bridge was already up.  I guess that’s why we wait so long on the road:

I think this is of Crystal Beach:

And a nice clear shot of Buffalo, New York:

The Peace Bridge contained its typical traffic:

Ok, last one!  Sorry about the picture overload.  Niagara Falls:

I’m stopping now (and everyone breathes a sigh of relief!)

Today’s symptoms:  Much better than this weekend.  Very little fatigue and only a slight headache.  I’m quite pooped now, but I always am after a flight.

Day Off

The weather was perfect today AND it was my day off.  Can you guess what I did?  Yup – flight.  Actually, I was supposed to take someone up who had their Private Pilot License in the 70′s and hasn’t flown since.  When she didn’t show up, my first thought was “accident”.  Then I thought that maybe she chickened out.  My thoughts kept going back to accident.  I told her over the phone before leaving for the airport where I would be parked and the type of car I drive.  After waiting an hour, I left a note on my windshield with my cell phone number.  I got quite nervous when at least 30 minutes into my flight, I still hadn’t heard from her.  The bad news is, my first instinct was right.  She left a couple message on my voicemail at home, stating that she was just rear-ended.  The next message said she was at the Emergency room.  I phoned her back and left a message on her voicemail, stating that if she’s in Emerg, she probably won’t be seen for a few days, and to please call me back then to let me know how she is.  My fingers are crossed until then!

 

Although sans-co-pilot, I hit the skies just after 2:00.  It was very smooth and clear.  My first “stop” was over Niagara Falls, passing the Queenston Bridge on the way:

I didn’t really have a destination in mind, so I just flew out toward the Lake Erie shoreline.  There were two boats fairly close to shore, so I took some pics.  It looks like the second one is the Canadian Coast Guard:

It was a great flight, lasting about an hour.  I would have stayed up longer, but I had to get home and get ready for my Recreational Aircraft Association executive meeting tonight.  I guess I should be doing that rather than writing my blog.  Hmmm……

Today’s symptoms:  More energy than I’ve had all week.  Sleeping well last night contributed, I’m sure.  Yesterday I was really, really fatigued.  I think my body was punishing me for having such a good day the day before!

Diggin A Hole

On Saturday, Jan, Chuck and I went to Toronto to see The Lion King.  It was always my favourite Disney movie so I was really looking forward to seeing it live on stage. 

 

We arrived at the Princess of Wales theatre a little early, so we decided to have a drink.  They didn’t have too many chairs available in the bar area, so Jan and I had to share one:

Good thing she’s so tiny!

The show was absolutely amazing!  The costumes were spectacular and the singing was perfect!  I strongly recommend that people go see it.

To carry on with my previous blog, my co-pilot was Hayley Shephard (I forgot to ask her if I could use her name and post her websites on my blog!)  Here’s a little blurb on what she’s about:

“Hayley attempted a World First solo sea kayak journey around the Sub-Antarctic Island of South Georgia to help raise awareness for the Albatross, a bird on the brink of extinction. Hayley’s expedition did not go as planned. Frequent Force 11 storms, a medical emergency, a severely damaged kayak and an earthquake caused numerous delays. Despite these setbacks, Hayley embodied a resilient spirit, as she strived against all odds to fulfill her long-lived dream to help save a magnificent bird.”

She spoke to our Recreational Aircraft Association back in April, and her presentation was amazing!  It was quite an honour and pleasure to take her for a flight around Niagara!  You can check out her websites here:


http://www.kayakingtosavealbatross.com
http://hayleyshephard.blogspot.com

 

On her blogspot, click on Presentation and Travel Blog to see some of the great pictures she took during our flight.

I wasn’t able to fly today due to the winds and chance of stormage.  However, since it’s Victoria Day, no work for moi!  I visited with my mother this morning.  We toddled over to Tim Hortons, then back to her house to remove a big ol’ tree from her back garden.  It was quite a bit of work due to the deep root system.  After a long haul of digging and axing, and with the help of our neighbour Charlie, we finally removed the stump from the ground.  I was so pooped after we finished, I had to take a little nappy in the hole:

Because I was so dirty and stinky, my mother denied my request to nap on her bed.  Thanks, mom.

As for an update on the kitty gang, these pics should say it all:

I’m happy to report that all four kitties are getting along much better now.

Today’s symptoms:  My fatigue level was a little worse than the last few days, but I think it’s because I didn’t sleep well last night.  I’ve had quite a few pains in my arms and a headache, but that’s about it!

Laptopia!

I am currently tweaking a laptop that a friend from work bought at the same time as me – the same laptop from the same place.  I look like a total laptop addict right now:

 

At least this means that I’ve finally taken mine out of the box.

I made a really good purchase today.  When my mother flies with me, the seven phone books she sits on to allow her to see over the dash really causes weight and balance issues with the plane.  I was hoping to buy another seat cushion from the aircraft store I where I bought the other two, but the 4″ one was around $80!  My friend and I went to the Liquidation store near work during lunch.  There were four or five boat seats (back and seat cushions) sitting on the floor.  The seat cushion was about 4″ and the back around 3″.  They were $25!  I bought one that went with the colours of the inside of my plane (blue and off-white), took it home, unscrewed the hardware hinging the two pieces together and Voila!

Fortunately, Mya has spent the night working them in.  They will be all nice and comfy for my next flight.  Speaking of which, I probably won’t be flying for the next few days – it’s supposed to snow tomorrow.  Yuck!

I was really naughty at work today.  My mother bought Mya and Abby a remote control tarantula for Christmas:

Its movements are quite realistic!  Anyway, I brought it to work, hoping to frighten a few people.  I had it crawling down the aisle, when my friend walked in.  She almost made it over to her pod when I made spidey walk out from behind a pole.  Man, I’ve never seen anyone turn on their heels and walk back in the other direction that quickly before!  We all had a good laugh (except her).  A few hours later, the same friend was sitting in the office of the Team Leader who I wanted to scare.  Another friend was standing in the office as well.  I hid on the other side of the pod and walked spidey into the office.  The girl who I scared earlier saw it and screamed at the top of her lungs!  The other friend screamed as well, but she was drowned out by the much louder scream.  Tee hee!  I got one more person later today.  She came it after 2:00.  I gave her about 30 seconds to sit down at her desk, before spidey entered her pod.  Yup, another high pitched scream!  Everyone looked as I picked up spidey and ran back to my pod.  Ah yes, it was a good day at work!

At this time in exactly two weeks, I’ll be recovering from my CCSVI Liberation surgery in a hotel room in Florida.  I can’t believe how quickly the time is flying by.  I’m starting to get a bit nervous.  I’m also trying to lower my expectation of the surgery and think of the fact that it may not work for me.  I’m certainly not trying to be negative – I would give anything for it to work and provide me some energy!  I just don’t want to set my expectations too high and have the surgery not give me the results I so desperately want.  This  would be so much harder to recover from than having slightly lower expectations.  Still, I have my hopes set on the fact that it’s going to work!  Darnit-all!  I plan on bringing my new laptop with me, so I can keep everyone posted on the process.  I wonder if the doctor will let me do a blog entry during the surgery?  How cool would that be?!

Today’s symptoms:  Feeling pretty decent as I slept great last night.  I had a really bad headache, but took one of those new Advil Nighttime pills (now available in Canada!).  Worked great!

Hold Short of Runway 06

I was able to take to the skies this morning.  I took up a woman from work who was a winner of one of the three flights I “donated” toward the Walk for MS fundraiser.  I was a little surprised when I pulled into the airport, as there was a swarm of cop cars.  I made my way over to the hangar and started the pre-flight inspection of my plane.  My passenger arrived and watched while I finished the walk-around.  Once done, we climbed aboard Vyctor, got our cameras ready and started up.  I taxied over to the end of the runway and was asked to hold short while a plane landed.  I decided not to complain about having to wait a couple minutes for the incoming plane, as it was the Prime Minister!  I figure since I work for the government, he’s kind of my “boss.”  Here’s a shot of his jet:

I’m sure if Mr. Harper saw how cute little Vyctor is, he would have told his pilot to overshoot the runway to let me take-off without having to wait for him.

The flight was amazingly calm.  Unfortunately, the visibility wasn’t the best due to haze and smog.  Still, my passenger really enjoyed herself.  We first headed around the Niagara Falls scenic circuit.

My passenger was shocked to see the whales in the tanks at Marineland!  After the Falls, we flew over her house in Welland.  From there we flew towards the Lake Erie shoreline, then to Fort Erie.  My mother and I went to Niagara Falls, New York yesterday, and the bridge wasn’t too busy.  That sure wasn’t the case today!  Since it’s the long weekend, the bridge was totally packed.  They said on the news that the wait on the Peace Bridge was over an hour and on the Queenston Bridge was over two hours at one point!  Yuck!  Here’s a shot of the Peace Bridge at about 10:30 this morning:

The traffic going into Canada was quite light, but check out the lines going to the US!

We followed the QEW North, then went around Niagara-On-The-Lake.  My passenger couldn’t believe the small runway we were going to land on.  We took off from the larger one, but the winds changed during the flight, so the tower changed the active runway.

After touch-down, we walked closer to the Prime Minister’s jet and snapped some photos.  Then it was back to work!

As I mentioned, Lil’ Jan and I went to the Factory Outlet Mall in Niagara Falls, NY yesterday.  She bought a pair of those

Skechers Shape-Ups shoes .  I still can’t believe how comfortable they are – I’ve been recommending them to everyone.Chuck and I are hoping to fly to Tillsonburg tomorrow for a fly-in.  However, the weather isn’t looking so good.  At least the rest of the weekend is supposed to be decent.  I would really like to take a night flight during the fire works.  Hopefully I come back to the airport without any scorch marks on the bottom of my plane.

Today’s symptoms:  Feeling fairly good today!  My fatigue level was fine until later this afternoon.  I’m still experiencing a bit of pain in my hands.

New Computer

When I was preparing for my Recreational Aircraft Association meeting this past Monday, I was suddenly hit with a fairly big dilemma.  One of the hinges on my laptop broke and when I tried to close it, chunks of plastic went flying off.  I tried everything to line up what remained of the hinge, but I couldn’t get it closed.  I need my laptop for my monthly RAA meetings, so it’s kinda imperative that I can open and close it for transportation.  Fortunately, Chuck had a laptop he could lend me for the night.  I still can’t believe I had to buy a new computer just because a hinge and some plastic broke!  The guy at Future Shop (where I bought it) said that it would probably be between $200-300 to repair.  Fortunately, there was a good computer on sale that day, so I asked them to set it aside and Chuck would pick it up the next day.  Here’s the damage to my old one:

 

And here’s the new one, which I’ve had for a few days now:

Yup, still in the box.  I was too tired after my interview, flights and work on Tuesday to do anything beyond laying in bed like a lump.  Unfortunately, the fatigue spilled over into yesterday, and I had a fairly hard time making it through the day at work.  The worst part, I was going with my mother and friend to a concert that night!  We went to Hamilton Place to see Sarah McLachlan.  At least the drive was quick into Hamilton, and it left us over an hour for dinner before the show.  After we ate, we walked across the street to Hamilton Place.  We had great seats – about 15 rows back and off to the left.  Not surprising, Sarah sounded perfect.  You know how some singers don’t sound too good live?  Well, not her!  I was happy to hear many of her songs from the last five to ten years, plus some newer stuff.

It was a great night!  I’m really glad I was off today so I could sleep in.  Mind you, I don’t feel like I caught up on my sleep at all.  I had a doctor appointment in Fonthill this morning.  Then I used my Nexus card to cross the Whirlpool Bridge in Niagara Falls to pick up a package (one of Chuck’s peeps lets us use his mailbox which is just on the other side of the bridge).  After that, I went over to the Book Depot for their big box sale.  $30 for a big box of books.  There were thousands of books and it was a complete zoo – as it always is during this sale.  I didn’t stay as long as I wanted to because I was hit with a bad headache about an hour into my shopping.  Still, I was able to fill a box, so I’m good to go!

Oh, while I was taking the picture of my new laptop in the box, Abby was drawn to the flash.  She hinted that I take her picture as well.  How could I say no to a face like this?



Today’s symptoms:  I quite weak and fatigued from my busy week (busy for me, anyway!)  I think I’ll have to take a headache/sleeping pill combo tonight.  I have more body aches and pains than normal too – probably made worse from being overtired.

Posted by Lizzy McFly at 3/17/2011 6:44 PM

 

Cogeco Interview

I was SO nervous this morning, as I had an interview scheduled with Cogeco – The Source.  I thought I was just going to do some fly-bys and aerobatics to go along with my interview on March 30th, but I was interviewed today as well.  I arrived at the airport around 9:00, as the Cogeco Producer was coming at 10:00.  I inspected my plane, called for fuel and taxied over to the main terminal building.  When I saw a blue car with “Cogeco” written all over it, I approached and said “I don’t suppose you’re from Cogeco?”  I’m glad the Producer’s first impression of me was that I’m a dork!  Anyway, he was so nice that my nerves settled down considerably once we made it over to my plane to set up.  Fortunately, Robyn from the MS Society – Niagara Peninsula Chapter of Hope also came along to help out with the interview.  She provided details about the Walk for MS in Niagara on April 17th.

 

I was glad to have the interview over with first, as it was what I was nervous about.  I was looking forward to the flying part!  Actually, once the interview started, I quite enjoyed it.  The Producer really put me at ease.  Robyn was interviewed after me, then some footage was taken of us checking out the plane.

After the interview, we all went up into the St. Catharines Flight Service Station tower.  They were so nice to give us permission to film my flight from the tower balcony.  I felt bad that the producer had to walk all the way up the tower stairs with his big, honkin’ camera and tripod.  After we chatted about the flight, I scampered back down the stairs and out to my plane.  I took off, did a circuit and flew past the tower, while dipping/waving my wings.  I then climbed to over 3000 feet and started my aerobatics.  I did a bunch of loops and rolls, and did a spin to lose some height before landing.

Once down, the Producer put away his huge-o camera and picked out a more dainty one (to fit in the plane).  We decided to fly around Niagara Falls.  The Producer took a video of my take-off, I then had a sudden and eerie feeling that I was being watched.  Utilizing my peripheral vision, I noticed the lens of his camera was about an inch or two from my face.  I asked him if I could help him and he said no.  When we got over the Falls, I noticed the lens seriously close to my face again.  I thought maybe he was trying to get a shot out of my side of the window.  I asked “Is my big head in your shot?” to which he replied “Your big head IS the shot!”  Tee Hee!  After doing the scenic circuit around the Falls, we made the short trip back to the airport.

The experience was amazing.  I was so impressed by the video – the Producer did an exceptional job.  WOW!  Seriously, check it out:  http://www.tvcogeco.com/niagara/gallery/the-source/3829-march-source-stories/36393-lizzy-mcfly

Thank you again to Cogeco and the producer for my clip today.  What a wonderful way to cover the Walk for MS and my cute little plane!

Today’s symptoms: I felt quite good this morning!  I had more energy than I’ve had in a while.  I knew it wouldn’t last after the excitement of the day, plus the flights.  I had to leave work about an hour early when the fatigue really hit hard. 

Great Weekend!

There was a great estate auction at Chuck’s business on Saturday (Bailiff Auctions).  My mother met us in St. Catharines around 8:30 that morning.  We stopped at Timmy’s for a coffee then headed over for the auction, which didn’t actually start until 10:00.  Still, we got there early to get a good parking spot and good seats.  I viewed most of the items a couple days before, so I had an idea of what I wanted to bid on.  I’m glad we arrived early as it was a great turn out:

My pod neighbour at work has an iron peeing Scottie dog.  I was quite surprised to see one at the auction.  After about 30 minutes, the peeing dog was brought forward.  I decided I would only pay $20.00 at the most.  However, when the bidding climbed to $20, I really became determined to win.  As you can see, I did:

I think having lucky number 17 helped!

There was a bucket o’ stuff that I was also going to bid on.  It had a couple of wooded airplanes in the bottom.  The rest of the stuff had very little value to me – it wasn’t worth much either.  I said I would cap my bidding at $20.  However, me and a guy across the room go into a bit of a bidding war.  I was shocked when we got up to $40!  Regardless, I kept the battle going and when the guy seemed a little hesitant at $52.50, I decided to bail out.  Man, did he ever euchre himself!  It wasn’t worth anywhere near that.  Ah, revenge!  He bought the airplane lamp I really wanted a few items prior to the bucket…..  *sheepish grin*

Chuck got me an amazing airplane table and a really cute pedal airplane.  I’m going to use the pedal-plane for a photo shoot with the kitties.

I bought a couple of wooden things (I have no idea what they are!) for my friend.  She saw them in a picture I took of some items when I went a few days earlier.  Actually, I only noticed the one.  It came up toward the end of the auction, when they were really flying through the items.  I opened the bid at $5.00 then yelled “Sold for $5.00!”  Tee hee!  Actually, the auctioneer said it a second after me, so I did in fact win the item.  I thought I was seeing things when he held up an identical one a few items later.  When he asked for an opening bid, I yelled “Isn’t that a two for one!”  Everyone laughed and I received the second item.  Another thing I lucked out on was a treadmill for $10.00!

We all had a great time, despite being very pooped from the rather long day.

Today, I visited my mother in Fonthill.  I didn’t stay too long because I had to get my presentation ready for my Recreational Aircraft Association meeting tomorrow night.

I just thought I would remind you of how cute Mya and Abby are:



Today’s symptoms:  A little tired and weak from doing so much yesterday.  My jaw is hurting quite a bit, I had a headache and a slew of aches and pains in my arms and hands.

New Invention!

I’m a little nervous mentioning this on my blog, in fear that someone else will steal the idea and produce the product.  However, I’m willing to take my chances.  My mother has come up with an amazing home decor idea.  It’s a candle that lasts forever!  How could a candle last forever, you ask?  Well, my mother said that one of her Yankee candles burnt down to the bottom, but there was still some wax left.  I told her that I chop up the unused wax and put a chunk at a time in the new candle I’m burning.  That way, nothing gets wasted.  Well, I guess Jan didn’t hear the part about “A chunk at a time” because she decided to put ALL of the chunks into her new candle.  This, of course, created a candle, with wax up to the brim!  This is where the “lasts forever” comes into play.  If there is so much wax that the wick is nothing but a minuscule stub under a great wax abyss, it lasts forever because you CAN’T LIGHT IT!  Introducing *drum roll*……….the JANDLE!

 

Where’s the wick?  Oh, there it is!  That puny little black speck!

I have to give my mother ALL of the credit for this amazing invention.  All I did was name it!

Ok, enough of our get-rich invention – now onto my flight yesterday!  The weather was perfect so I took a couple hours of vacation and decided to work on my aerobatics.  I was a little nervous as I hadn’t done any aerobatic maneuvers in quite a few months, and I feared serious heckling from the St. Catharines tower.

I had to wait for another plane to be moved, so my plane could be pulled out of the hangar.  To kill some time, I chatted with the Flying Club cat.  When I started my pilot lessons, he was just a little kitten:

Since I hadn’t done aerobatics in awhile, I figured I would get nauseous after just a few loops and rolls.  I was shocked that I didn’t feel sick at all.  I made sure I flew fairly straight and level for one to three minutes between each maneuver, which seemed to do the trick.

I always find it amusing how wonky my horizon indicator goes, from the unusual attitudes and G forces of the aerobatics:

It typically stays like that until I’m taxiing the plane back to the hangar.  I also took a shot of how many G’s I did:

The plane’s structural limit is positive six G’s, so I was quite safe at less than five.

It was a great flight and I was so happy that I didn’t have any issues getting back into the swing of things.

When I got home, I ran to tell Pinky and Boo about my flight.  I asked if I could take their picture.  Boo agreed but Pinky just said “Hmph”

I was just about to ask Pinky to please look up at the camera, when I caught Boo giving her an unimpressive glance:

As you can see, it did the trick!

Today’s symptoms:  I was really drained physically and emotionally today.  This lead to a pretty bad headache starting early in the afternoon.  I’ve also had many sharp body aches, mostly in my arms and hands.

Pancakes in Waterloo

I had the day off today so Jan and I took advantage of the nice weather to go for a flight.  She hasn’t been up with me for many months, so it was nice to have her back in the saddle again.  We were planning on flying directly to the Kitchener/Waterloo airport, but had to take a slight detour when my oil access door opened – again!  I really need to get that fixed!  Fortunately, it happened when we were just across from the Grimsby airport.  I brought us down, taxied to the apron, shut down and closed the door.

It only took a few minutes from touch down before we were up again.  Jan snapped a couple of nice shots along the way:

I was shocked to hear how much traffic there was at the Kitchener/Waterloo airport.  I think I was number seven to land.  Once down, we taxied over to the Runways Cafe.

We were both a little hungry, so we split an order of pancakes and toast.  After visiting the pilot shop, we headed back out to little Vyctor for our flight home.  The traffic was a little lighter at that time, and we only had to wait for one plane to land before we took off.

Jan took a nice shot of the airport while we were taking off:

The clouds were rolling in a bit during the flight back to St. Catharines.  It was still quite smooth.

I do believe this is Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton:

Soon after landing, the tower called me over the radio and asked if my co-pilot landed, since it was such a nice landing.  Ha ha!  Very funny!  Obviously my mother couldn’t land the plane, since despite sitting on four phone books, she still can’t see over the dash!  Geesh!  We decided to visit the tower folks after parking the plane.  I met the tower supervisor for the first time.  He said that he has been reading my blog.  He also mentioned that he can’t believe how cute and adorable my cats are!  He said they are the most attractive breed of cats he has ever seen.  He is even considering getting some himself!  Well, this is basically what I perceived him to say after he mentioned they were ugly!  Clearly, no one in their right mind would ever suggest that my kitties are anything less than perfect looking.  If I had actually believed that he said they were “ugly”, my heart would have shattered into about twenty-seven pieces.  No one would be that cruel to do that to me, so I must have just misheard him.

Today’s symptoms:  Feeling really good!  I had a nice amount of energy all day and I haven’t been hit with any aches or pains yet today.

My Big Reveal

Well, I finally got up the courage to let y’all know what I’ve been dealing with for the last few months and what my plans are for the near future.  You may recall back in November, I flew out to Vancouver, BC.  The reason I went there was to get an MRV (specialized MRI) to see if I had any issues with the veins in my neck.  For over a year now, the CCSVI (Chronic Cerebro-Spinal Venous Insufficiency) theory for Multiple Sclerosis has been at the forefront of health news all over the world.  Dr. Zamboni from Italy has done research and studies to show that people with MS have high incidences of stenosis, pinching and narrowing of the veins in the neck.  This means the blood does not drain properly from the brain.  This causes the veins to leak blood into surrounding tissues, which deposits iron in the central nervous system, which may cause immune reactions associated with MS. 

I’ve been following this study since it began back in 2009.  I’ve done quite a bit of research on it and followed other similar studies done all over the world.  It is being shown that a balloon angioplasty procedure up through the affected veins is resulting in many MS sufferers to have relief from some/many of their symptoms.  One of the most consistent effects of the surgery is at least some relief of the fatigue that most MS folks endure.

Before heading to Vancouver for the MRV, I first had a doppler ultrasound done on my neck.  There were no significant findings from this test, but I still decided to have the more thorough MRV test, which was not covered by OHIP or my employer’s health care plan.  It made me nervous to think that I may spend $2000 on a test that may show I have the most perfect, wonderful veins anyone has ever seen.  This would mean, of course, that the angioplasty surgery would not help me with my symptoms.

It took a little over a month to get my MRV results.  I was thrilled to see that my veins weren’t normal.  Actually, one of the veins on the left was quite dainty and pathetic looking:

You can see how much larger the veins on the right (which are actually on the left side of the image) are than those on the left.  There is also a fairly large kink in my vein on the right:

So, after speaking with a few people who went to all different places in the world (Costa Rica, Rhode Island, Poland – since the procedure is not yet available to treat CCSVI in Canada) I decided to seriously consider having it done myself.  In addition to actually speaking with people, I have spent months reading blogs, personal websites and speaking with some people from the MS Society of Canada.  I really want to be sure that I am doing the best thing for my health.  There have not been too many negative effects from the surgery.  Most, if not all seem to be from problems with stents used to hold the vein open.  I will NOT get a stent, no matter what!  At least not until more research has been done on them for this treatment.

There are many clinics all over the world offering the CCSVI procedure.  I am very leery about traveling to certain countries to have it done.  Obviously I would give anything to have it done here in Canada, but since they’re not doing it here yet, my next choice is the States.  Fortunately, there are clinics in the US doing the procedure.  I have been in contact with one in Clearwater, Florida, and have decided to get the surgery done there.  Since I already have the results and images from the doppler ultrasound and MRV, I do not need to repeat the tests in Florida.  Chuck and I will be flying (commercially!) down to Orlando on April 1st.  We are driving over to Lakeland for the Sun N Fun aviation expo which has its final days on the 2nd and 3rd.  On the 4th, I have my consultation with the doctor in Clearwater, about an hour away.  I will then have the angioplasty procedure on the morning of April 5th.  I’m so excited!  The surgery will be totally worth it if it provides even a small amount of relief of my daily fatigue.  My fatigue, severe at times, has plagued me since I was eight years old.  I remember being at the mall with my mother and I would be so overwhelmed with fatigue and weakness, that I would have to lay down in the middle of the store aisle.  My mother just thought I was weird (which I was and still am), but neither of us knew the reason for this symptom.  It wasn’t until my MS diagnosis in 2005 when all of the pieces came together and I finally had a reason for all of the symptoms I had experienced since childhood.

There you have it, folks!  The cat (MEOW!) is out of the bag!  I will certainly keep you posted on how everything goes.  I will also be blogging while down in Florida, to keep everyone up to date.  Stay tuned!

Today’s symptoms:  Still a little weak today after my Tysabri IV infusion on Friday.  I’m sure it will be much better tomorrow.  Unfortunately, I have a killer headache tonight.