Tag Archives: Artsquest

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.


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!




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

Domestic Violence and Disabilities

In 1986 I found myself in an abusive relationship. I had become one, of the one billion.



Playwright Eve Ensler’s Vday Movement has raised over 90 million dollars to stop violence against women and girls worldwide.

Vday is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money, and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. Vday generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), and sex slavery.

Well once again, I’m in!

Vagina Monologue Cast 2009, Bethlehem, PA

Vagina Monologue Cast 2009, Bethlehem, PA

This year is the most ambitious campaign to date: One Billion Rising.




On Vday’s 15th Anniversary, 14 February 2013, we are inviting ONE BILLION women and those who love them to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to this violence. ONE BILLION RISING will move the earth, activating women and men across every country. Vday wants the world to see our collective strength, our numbers, and our solidarity across borders. In this movement, Eve even includes those who are mobility compromised! See video to learn dance “Break the Chain”:

In 1986 I found myself in an abusive relationship. I had become one, of the one billion. This is why I participate in Eve’s Vday Movement. If my presence, my voice, my face, can help just ONE girl, then I’m in.

Performing a Vday Monologue 2010, Artsquest, Bethlehem, PA

Performing a Vday Monologue 2010, Artsquest, Bethlehem, PA

The numbers among people with disabilities is even higher. Often times, the person they target is in some way disabled, giving the abuser a false sense of empowerment simply because they are picking on someone who can’t protect themselves or fight back. If you ask me…THAT is a sign of weakness.

People who abuse are looking for power!

I can tell you firsthand:

1. It could never be your fault. The mind of an abuser is broken, and no matter how hard you try…you can’t fix it.
2. There will always be a, next time.
3. You can count on family, a friend, a friend of a friend or a coworker to help you be safe and ultimately, leave. I did.
4. Being able to get out may take some planning but, once you realize that the first three things I’ve said are true…get busy.

This may take more than one attempt. DO NOT give up on yourself!

Having said that, I realize EVERY situation is different and usually, complicated. Each person must make the BEST decision for themselves at the time. Disability complicates things to the tenth degree. Abuse can include depriving women of medication and routine care. It can include total isolation from friends and family members. It can include sexual abuse, ranging from rape to forced sterilization. These patterns of abuse almost always involve imposed control and the use of coercion and threats; physical violence does not have to be present for a relationship to be abusive.

Outreach is critical; those of us who are able to, listen, check on, care for or shelter a victim, must look closely at our disabled loved ones and friends. Ask questions when concerned. Everybody might not be able to help all of the time, but, the one time you can, will surely make a difference in a victims life; maybe even save it. Let’s not forget about our male victims. This abuse is hardly one sex fits all.

Remember, abuse is about power.
You can take yours back!

Performing a Monologue for Vday 2010, Bethlehem, PA

Performing a Monologue for Vday 2010, Bethlehem, PA

I am including some links under “Domestic Violence and Disabilities”that I think contain VERY pertinent information. I hope they are helpful.



Filed under Domestic Violence and Disabilities, MS and Domestic Violence