Category Archives: Ilness and The Arts

MS: I’m so over it!

I’ve often returned to blogs to find that there are no new posts for long stretches of time and I find myself wondering… what happened? Where are they?

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I don’t want to sound too final but, that’s kinda why I’m signing off, and explaining. Yes sir re… I’m over it. For two years I’ve used my blog to keep my cognitive skills sharp (ironic, since it’s my MS that causes me to have cognitive issues in the first place). I know as much as I need to know about this disease, probably too much, and I’m walking away.

I’ve always found it healthier to keep my distance…stay away. I realized and accepted many years ago that it is going to do whatever, whenever it wants. I have been blessed with Relapsing Remitting MS. I have been very aggressive about the disease modifying drugs, diet and lifestyle choices. Each of these I believe are the reasons for my good fortune. I have slowly recovered (and sometimes quickly) from each of my relapses without the use of steroids. Please… don’t get me wrong, sacrifices were made. If I had continued to work, this would not have been the case, not even close. It would have been necessary with many of my relapses to use the steroids to recover more quickly. By not working, my lifestyle changed. My body gets what it needs; time to recover, rest, and reduced stress.

The sacrifices are more my husband’s than mine. As the person with the illness, I expect to suffer. I cannot walk away. It follows me. He has a choice, always.

Here is where I want to tell him:

“Thank you”

Spoken Word Video

Title of poem: “A river for Kevin”

Venue: Busboys and Poets, Hyattsville, Maryland

The MC for the night, E-Baby Poems was awesome! Did you see him come back to me when he saw that I was nervous XOXOX

 

My new blogging interest is…marriage. I want to encourage others to “Get married. Stay Married, and Be Happy”. So please, check back from time to time to see how I’m moving along with it.

 Comments: I always look forward to reading them and responding.

 Take care!!

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MS…I’m so over it!

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Filed under Ilness and The Arts, Long Loving Marriages, Riding Out a Relapse

Meet me at the Photo-shoot: Going outside of your comfort zone.

 

To be comfortable outside of one’s comfort zone, you’ve got to go there daily. Eventually, what’s uncomfortable becomes comfortable again. That’s what I tell myself.

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Abby met us at the door. She was glowing, not because it was hot, and it was, but because she is a new mom giving birth in about 4 weeks. She’s one of my “Young Barista’s”. A group of young people who have worked in my favorite cafe’ over the past few years. They had taken very good care of me in my hours there, writing. They have also at one point or another, modeled for me, and I’ve told them all, “when you have your first baby, call me. I will do a photo-shoot for you.” So, I wasn’t surprised to answer my phone and hear Abby say, “Estizer, remember when you said…”

I’ve since learned to never tell anyone what I will do in the future. This could not have come at a worse time. I haven’t taken my “real camera” out in about 2 years, and was honestly just not strong enough to do it now. But…how could I tell her, no.

I mentioned this to a dear friend, Karen T., who has helped me before on photo-shoots.  She said, “you can do it with help though, right? I’ll be your “photo-go-fer”, for a day. I was overjoyed, this meant I could tell her, YES!

The day of the shoot came, and it was extremely hot. The heat was taking it’s toll on me but, my first concern was my pregnant Mom. Did she have water? Was she in the shade? Was she relaxed? While I was watching Abby, Karen was watching me. Do you have any water? Can you come into the shade? What else do you need?

I only had to “think”, I need the camera over here and Abby over there; Karen and “Dad”were on it. In this heat, it was tough for me to think everything through. The technical stuff, F-stops and shutter speeds, filters and sunlight. Ultimately, I had to let the thinking go.The technical stuff was overwhelming. I took a deep breath, relaxed, and let my inner photographer go free. I kept an eye on my watch because I was mindful of my pregnant mom. I wanted to finish and be out the door in under two hours. 1 hour and 45 minutes…SUCCESS!

Karen and I went to dinner. I was so exhausted that I cried in the parking, lot out of sheer gratitude and overwhelming fatigue.

I can push myself through the eye of a needle, but, the cost can be quite high. In this case, so was the pay off.

Push yourself. Go outside of your comfort zone. You’ll discover you can recover some of the old you, or if you’re lucky, you’ll discover something even better…a new you.

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What takes you outside of your Comfort Zone? What things have you changed to make that happen?

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Filed under Ilness and The Arts, Mental Well-Being, MS and Exercise, MS and Fatigue, MS and Pregnancy, MS and Visualization, Riding Out a Relapse, Uncategorized

Illness and The Arts: “CHICAGO”

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Lil. E.: “MOM! Did you see their butts?”

Mom: “Whose butts Honey?

Lil. E. “The guys Mom. The guys dancing!”

Mom: “Which ones Honey?”

Lil. E. “ALL OF THEM!”

CHICAGO- "The Boys"

CHICAGO- “The Boys”

These butts are the ones admired…ALL OF THEM!

We had gone into New York City to see the Broadway Musical, “Chicago”. Art, in all its forms, can be transcending. It can be used (butts or no butts) to get into your mind, and take you to another place: a place of comedy, music, drama, excitement, beauty, longing, love, peace, inspiration, and…for me, ability. It can be used to help heal. Whether it’s on line, in a book, or in person, whether it’s a play, a poem, or a painting, give it a chance.

I found myself in tears as the show ended and I didn’t know why. Lil. E. looked at me in my shame and said, “It’s okay Mom, Theater can be an emotional experience. People are just, moved.”That was comforting. I wiped my tears and looked “normal”. Then it happened.

We were outside the theater so Lil.E. could get autographs as the performers left. The last performer to leave was, Amra-Faye Wright.

Amra-Faye Wright

Amra-Faye Wright

Lil. E. had explained to me already that she, who was one of the two lead characters in the play was, FIFTY-THREE YEARS OLD! I couldn’t believe it! All of the other performers had to be HALF her age and she commanded the stage!

She is older than me (a little), and if she can do THAT, surely I can walk better! She was just the inspiration I needed. She stopped and took a picture with me and yes, I was crying. I was totally embarrassed. I imagined she thought, “What the hell?” But it really didn’t matter.

Arma-Faye Wright and I after the Broadway Musical, "CHICAGO"

Amra-Faye Wright and I after the Broadway Musical, “CHICAGO”

With art, even the artist, will not know how each person will be affected by their work. They’re role is to perform, to paint, to sculpt. Their job is to create, and put it out into the Universe so it can make a difference, whatever that might be.

 

COMMENTS: Is there a work of art that has affected you in a positive way? Anything life changing?

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Filed under Ilness and The Arts, Mental Well-Being, MS and Family, Riding Out a Relapse

The Farmers Market-2013

Apple Ridge Farm

Apple Ridge Farm

My quaint hometown of Easton, PA has the oldest continuous running open-air Farmer’s Market in the country, and the best. It began in 1732.  Today, I used it as a test. I went last year  and I felt like Katnis, in “The Hunger Games” trying to get out alive. It was treacherous. My balance was horrible and it was worsened by the cobblestone walk, the flowers, the tents, the colors, the tables, the crowds, the food, the smells, the talking, the music! It was sensory overload. I got home in tears, vowing to never leave the house again.

Now…I think I’m ready to go back in.

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Now that the day is over, I am still alive. Not heroic, but alive. Not in tears, just tired.

My goal is to attain a level of ability that allows me to move through the world unencumbered. To move, to walk, to work.  That is my goal.
VENDORS in SLIDESHOW: Apple Ridge Farms, Easton Salsa Company, Artist’s in the Alley

COMMENTS: What is your benchmark for good health? What is your goal? What are you doing to get better? What do you use to indicate that you are doing your best?

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Filed under Ilness and The Arts, MS and Exercise, Riding Out a Relapse

When MS gives us apples, make APPLESAUCE!

Student: “Miss Estizer why do you sound like that?”

Me: “Like what?”.

Student: “It’s gone now…NO! Like THAT!”

Me:”Oh…that. Well, I have something called MS, and sometimes it makes me talk funny. But, don’t worry, it’s not contagious.”

bigstock-Applesauce-being-made-using-a--30407207B-Smart after-school Photography class for At-Risk elementary school children, held at “The Banana Factory”. Provided by ArtsQuest, a non-profit arts organization that celebrates the arts in Bethlehem, PA.

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Student: “Why does it do that? And how come it goes away so fast. I thought you were doing it on purpose.”

Me: “Nope. It’s something that I can’t control. MS messes with my nerves. Do you know what your nerves do?”

Student: “Yea-uh. Well, sorta. They make your body move, right? But, they don’t have nothin to do with you talking.”

Me: “That’s half right, but they do soo much more! Blink your eyes, now swallow, now pull your hair. Did you feel all of that? Good, then your nerves are working great. Nerves do almost EVERYTHING in your body. They send messages to your brain and you don’t even have to think about it most of the time. When dust or smoke is around, your eyes just blink, right? When you want to drink a soda, you swallow, right? Did you have to say…ok throat, swallow now?”

Student: “Ewww, how about when you have to pee?”

Me: “Yeah…that too. When your bladder is full, you have nerves that take that message to your brain.”

Student: “And what about #2?”

Me: “Ok, ok, ok…I think you got it!  Sometimes my MS interferes with the way my nerves send the messages to my brain. When you hear me talk like that, my brain received a messed up message from my nerves. Or, the message was broken up, like your cell phone does sometimes, and my brain is confused.  Then, my nerves go, “Oh snap”! That wasn’t right, and then my nerves send it again- the right way.”:)

Student: “When, when, when you talk like that, you sound like you got applesauce in your mouth!”

Me: Laughter. When I try to speak again…it happens.

Students:  “Hey, hey, hey, SHHHH! There it is again! It DOES sound like applesauce!” The students that didn’t hear it before are now amazed.

Me: “Wait, wait, wait for it… it’s gone again, my nerves are working just fine now:). Yay! We can get back to work.”

The next time it happens, a few minutes later, the kids close to me hear it.

Student:  “Hey, hey, hey!! It’s here again! SHHHH and you can hear it too!”

The class goes silent and the kids and I make a deal.

Me: “When ANYONE hears it, they’ll tell the rest of the class, and everyone will be quiet and wait for it to pass. When it happens I can’t teach right, because I can’t talk right. If you guys keep talking, I’ll have to wait for you to be quiet EVERY time, and that’ll take forever. We’ve got cool things to go out and do! So how about you all just be quiet EVERY time it happens, and wait a second for my nerves to get straight. THEN I’ll keep going”.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt became a game, it was genius. I couldn’t have planned it better if I had tried!

 

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Filed under Ilness and The Arts, MS Symptoms, Riding Out a Relapse

Illness and The Arts: “Parallel Lives”

Okay so I’m not a laugh out loud kinda girl. But this one did it to me!

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How these two women carry this 2 hour play entirely ALONE, is beyond me. Their comedic chemistry was amazing. The women I’m referring to are actresses Samantha Beedle and Jennifer Starr Foley, and the play was “Parallel Lives”, by Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy .

 In the opening scene,  what could be funnier than two female angels deciding how procreation will work? Who would DO it they ask; the male or the female? Well, duh…alphabetical order! F comes before M, so BAM! the females get it. The guys might suffer from low self esteem now so we’ve gotta balance this out somehow. They’re gonna feel left out of this huge, glorious, wonderful life bringing event. To balance it better, the angels thought, OH…we’ll just make it messy, and add some pain so the guys won’t feel like they’re missing out. Now, they had to decide HOW this would actually happen. They started with the little human growing inside the female’s body for a human YEAR. They bantered back and forth, settling on 9 months. Now that gestation was settled; how will it get OUT? A brilliant idea hits them; a SMALL PORTAL!

Still worried about the guys self esteem, the angels agreed to dump LOTS, and LOTS, and LOTS of ego on them. LOTS! Whew… they are done.

Two Millennia Later

Angel 1 was asked: So…How’s that procreation thing working out?

Answer: its working great, the EGO thing was genius.

Angel 2 was asked: How are the females feelin that small portal idea?

Answer: Oh! They are PISSSSED!

In every scene the play portrays “parallels” that exist in life. How those parallels are intertwined, and what makes them work. I could never do it justice; pen and paper won’t do. These ladies served it well…they BROUGHT IT and then some!

Please enjoy the original actresses, Kathy and Mo’s Angel skit:

The other part of the evening was two things for me; educational and inspirational.

Educational: I learned that some people are just assholes when it comes to “not seeing” a disability. The seats were very tightly placed making it difficult to move through. A gentleman saw me with my cane, stepped aside and said, “After you”. Before I could move through the small space, a nearby wench darted between us. This surely would have caused me to fall if it weren’t for the stellar athlete that I am!

I also learned, that I am “okay” with my friends. They walk slower, just for me, even when it’s cold as shit outside. They carry my stuff when my hands are too full because of my cane. They even go with me to the ladies room and ask, “Are you gonna need any help in there?” Next time I’ll have to remember to STOP DRINKING liquids hours before the event. I can always re-hydrate later. And oh yeah! I learned to call ahead next time to find out about those THIRTY EIGHT steps from the street to the theater. You mean there is an elevator! SWEET! Only, I should have parked around back.

Inspirational: I got out of the house, and was, excuse me…CUTE! Both of those things felt great. Laughter if good for EVERYthing! Depression, back ache, low self esteem, weight loss, weight gain, you name it! Watching these two phenomenal comedians was also good for my “game”. My next performance, I’m going head first. No holding back!

So, I’m going to end this post with my favorite line from the play, (drunken Hank Williams voice) “Well hey there sweetmeat, you look ver-ah, ver-ah pretty tonight. When you gunna git rid o’ that bossman o’ yors  and marry me??”

Your Thoughts:

Please share. What art form most inspires you? What does it inspire you to do? Tell us.

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