Participating in the MS Hinton ride last year was a massive milestone for me. I felt so empowered that I was able to complete the whole distance. I learned the hard way that road cycling skills are not the same as mountain biking skills (haha). That the tighter you hang on the more difficult it can be; relaxing and letting go of the brake (sometimes) makes the ride much easier. This could be said also for anxiety, depression and dealing with MS.
Unfortunately the following week I had a MS relapse and lost the ability to walk, ending up in hospital for 19 days. I reacted to the medication they gave me, and was constantly in a great deal of pain. I became so weak I could hardly hold myself up, or lift my arms and was unable to get to the washroom or have a shower without help. When I was discharged I was grateful to go to Mom and Steve’s. We live in a 5 level split, I couldn’t go home - I wasn’t able to walk, nevermind do any stairs. It was another month before I could get around without a walker or a cane.
We are so very grateful for our village that came out in droves to help. The love and care they showed carried us all through a very difficult time. We hired an amazing person to help at home, and the difference she’s made has been pivotal to our family, the kids, Michael and I being able to have a “normal” life. She takes care of what I cannot and gives me the opportunity to be a mom, and have time for self care.
I’ve even started biking! I can’t put into words how it felt to get back on a bike, feel the wind past my skin and push my muscles to a point where they feel tired and used. I felt normal. I felt able. I joined the Women on Wheels (WOW) mountain biking group and I try to go weekly. Natalie, one of the founders, has been a patient and inspiring force in making me feel welcome and strong. I’ve also picked up some skills. These would have been helpful last year :)
So, I’ve registered to do the MS Hinton ride again this year. I’ve worked hard this past 10 months to build strength and endurance but am not at the same place as I was this time last year. I continue to have pain, weakness, debilitating fatigue, memory and cognitive difficulties. These are all made worse by anxiety, stress, overstimulation, heat, and cold. Trying to plan for good days, or prepare to be well is impossible - I never know how I am going to feel, even in the same day. I have set a goal to ride, but also to listen to my body, not my brain for what my limits might be.
I’ve also taken the past year to really educate myself about the advances that are being made in the world of MS research. It truly is an exciting time with so many things that have great potential to either treat or cure this horrible disease. The need for money to fund this research, as well as funding for programs, support and advocacy is why I ride.
Please join me to help make a difference for those living with MS and the families who love them.
With love and appreciation,
Canada has the highest rate of MS in the world. Every day three more Canadians are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable illness that affects vision, balance, memory and mobility. We don’t know what causes MS and there is no cure.
Your support means Canadian families (like mine) who are affected by this disease do not have to face MS alone.
When you donate to my fundraising efforts for the MS Bike, your funds are invested into research to find the cause and cure for the disease, while providing services to Canadians with multiple sclerosis and their families.
Thank you in advance for joining the fight to end MS.