I really did not mean for it to be this long before I made my next blog entry, but as many of you know I had this event that came up not long after my treatment – my wedding! So I had 3 weeks to rest post-CCSVI and then it was up and at ’em to get this wedding ready to go.
Now before I tell you all about the fun I had at the wedding as I did have fun, this is where I insert the WARNING (said in that typical TV over voice!) to all brides and the husbands to be, we all know weddings are alot of work, but when you are dealing with A.recovery from a treatment that was quite emotional and or B.are living with a chronic illness that effects your brain and capacity to ‘run around’ to get things done (gotta love that fog when it rolls in), weddings or any large scale events are just that much more challenging. So make sure you have support! I am someone who plans and runs events at work all the time, but in this case my event super hero cape really did not work as well as I wanted to and although I did really struggle but gearing up to the final touches I had family, friends and bridesmaids to the rescue!
So there was all the usual wedding events, a lovely Bridal shower, which came 3 weeks right after my treatment which was perfect timing as the theme was Eco-Chic Relaxation. It was a sunny day and my lovely Maid of Honour set the mood right with yoga mats and Thai prayer flags as well as told everyone to bring only gluten free goodies! Let me tell you my dear MS friends going gluten free is something you should read about and consider. I really liked this article on it: http://glutenfreerecipebox.com/multiple-sclerosis-celiac-disease I thought it would be hard to do and it really has not been, and I am proud to say since my treatment June 10th I have been gluten free! My friends brought so many great new gluten free treats, both savory and sweet including homemade brownies that had everyone saying “oh my are these really gluten free!” The day was relaxing and I had the chance to tell everyone at once how my treatment went, which was really nice for me as everyone had been calling, texting and emailing for details but I was often tired to tell the story over and over again so this was a great one one stop shop opportunity. I of course did my CCSVI pitch of encouraging people to continue to support any CCSVI initiatives that they see to help speed up the process for Canadians being able to be treated here in our home country.
I was spoiled with gifts, and this one is a must for those of us who struggle with sore hands: V Slicer. I swear it will change your onion cutting life! I am all about trying to make my kitchen life easier as I love cooking and when my relapse was really bad the kitchen was not my friend and that really upset me. I know cooking takes time and effort but it is also important that we keep ourselves well nourished; so these little gadgets that really help are worth the counter space and investment.
So next stop wedding prep. This was a challenge to say the least, but I won’t bore you with details. All I have to say about this is, if you like to DIY stuff like me and be crafty and give things that hand made personal touch, save money and are worried about not creating to much waste (or even just some of the above) it can be done, just make sure to spend some time on Google before heading out to the craft store, and once you are ready to get down to business, bring in the crafting troops! With the CCSVI only being done June 10th I was healing, and my walking was getting better, my fatigue was getting better, but all the pains and challenges I had before treatment were still part of my life after treatment, and support was something I still needed, and I needed to let people know that. So if you are going for CCSVI or any kind of treatment make sure you are not afraid to still ask for help post treatment as the healing process takes a while.
So onto the fun stuff! The Stagette night was the time of my life! I had friends from Japan, England, San Francisco, Alberta and of course Vancouver all here ready to party! We started with a Thai dinner and my friend who organized also set it up to be gluten free! If you call ahead and ask a restaurant and let them know your dietary concerns then they are usually very helpful (I also planned for my wedding food to be all gluten free and the hotel arranged this at no extra charge), and the food was divine! My friends decorated me in bubble-wrap couture and a hot pink boa for the night which was super glam. My friends could not get over how healthy and happy I looked as many of them had been visiting me over the past few months, seeing me in my pj’s limping along, sometimes in my wheelchair, then walker and then using the walls as support and often with tears in my eyes; but this night I was wearing a pretty dress, had make-up on and on my feet without support and in heels! Yipppeee!!!!
After dinner we headed to Raw Canvas , a place that allows you to paint and drink wine! 14 girls, wine and 3 canvases and well what do you get… a big colourful, abstract mess, full of life and energy and great memories! Being creative is a great way to pass time when you are not feeling the best, but I know it can be a challenge to pull out all the art supplies and set up a space to paint or do arts and crafts, although I did try while being at home these past few months, and I recommend it to anyone who is stuck at home ‘sick’. Even if you are just making a mess with colour it can be fun! Let me tell you this night was so much fun! If there is ever a Groupon that comes up for this place I recommend you grab a friend treat yourselves! After a painterly fun time the last few standing, and can you believe I was one of them, went DANCING!!! Yes me in heels and my pink feather boa headed to the Tiki Lounge at the Waldorf for some old fashioned Rock and Roll dancing! I am not sure if it was the pure adrenaline of it all or the hours of being on the couch that I was now making up for but I was a dancing machine! Every now and then a friend would hug me or cheer in excitement “Look how awesome you’re moving! I can’t believe it!” and then I would think “oh ya!!! I am DANCING!!! This is AWESOME!!!”
I believe we feed off each others energy and being around my friends who were so excited for me was my fuel that night. I am now thinking to myself were they excited because I was getting married or because they were seeing me looking so healthy or a combo of the two… I vote a combo of the two. Either way the night was a blast and the best medicine I have had in a long time. In writing this blog post I am thinking it is sad that we have to wait for something like a wedding to come up for friends to gather and have such a fun time like that. It would be nice if we celebrated life in general like that more often. It was a scary awakening when I woke up and couldn’t move my legs; the last few months I have spent alot of time thinking about life, and how quickly things pass by, and how busy we all are and how little time we make for the important things such as sharing laughter with one another and fun silly nights out like the stagette really are invigorating to ones spirit. Stagettes are special so I am not suggesting to throw them for no reason, but here’s a thought: if you have a friend who falls ill and is starting to feel better, maybe think about throwing them a party for pulling through their rough time. Perhaps a victory party!!! Or maybe the party could be thrown at their home while they are ill (ask first if they would be up for something like that) and could be done like a pyjama party with ice cream, movies, popcorn and wine of course! Anyhow I am getting off track here but you get my point, celebrate each other and life as it is today, find time to have fun, dance, laugh, sing (I love karaoke!) as you never know what tomorrow might bring .
So Wedding day came and I was nervous as can be! My maid of honour and life long friend Kirsten Sorensen was here with me and we packed up the car and headed to the hotel to get ready while my other friends arrived here to make cupcakes! Our wedding was as handcrafted as can be, made with all kinds of love! Once arriving to the hotel I was fine and was starting to get excited, but I still had my vows to write! I kinda left those till last minute, but don’t alot of people? I must say quickly that although my darling maid of honour felt like she could have done more (as she does not live in Vancouver and was struggling with the distance) I could not have gotten through all this without her! I love you Kirsten!
It came time to walk down the aisle and although I was so tired for previous days activities, and lack of sleep but I still managed to get all glammed up, slip on my heels (heels again!) and put on what felt like a million pound dress, and took several deep breaths and started my way towards the ‘runway’. My feet were feeling extremely painful and numb that day though, and it just goes to show people how quickly stress effects our body! I had been feeling ok but when I was about to take that walk I felt like my uncle literally had to hold me up. Prior to the wedding things had been very tough with me getting sick, and there were points where we were not sure that we should be having a wedding. We never doubted our love but the stress of a wedding seemed like too much; now at the finish line I was overwhelmed with it all, with all the emotion that came before this point, all that was about to happen and the emotion about the future.
Once I felt the sun on my face, saw Don at the front waiting for me with our lovely bridal party and saw some of our friends and the beautiful flowers my aunt Tania had put together for the day, as well as seeing my dog (who was waiting at the front for me as she was the ring bearer!) I felt at ease and full of joy and filled with a feeling of victory! Here I was WALKING finally DOWN THE AISLE!!! It was such a sense of accomplishment, that we made it through all this current relapse stuff, both on a MS sense on a personal sense, as I am sure those of you with MS or a chronic illness can relate it is not easy on your personal and intimate life. Don was beaming his vows we lovely.
After the ceremony it was picture time which was alot of fun! Our photographer Sandy Eutis was amazing! It was then back to the hotel for the reception dinner, speeches and more dancing! All the speeches were wonderful of course. Mine was last, and I had some notes that I scratched down an hour before but I started off with this quote:
“No matter how strong one individual is, we have to live as a human community”.
I read that because I wanted to say thank you to everyone sitting before us, thank you for their support and being our community through all we have been through in the last few months. I spoke about feeling victorious and how when we have love in our hearts and our eye’s on a prize we can make any thing happen. Thank you to all those reading this blog post as well and again thank you to those that contributed to me going for my CCSVI treatment, either through helping at my fundraiser or donating towards sending me for the treatment. Whose to say I would have walked down the aisle without your support.
MS is something I still learning to live with, even post CCSVI, though I feel better, I don’t feel 100%, nor do I expect to. The only thing I can do is keep my hope alive, keep my eyes on prizes and go after them, while pacing myself, keeping my support systems in place and continuing to try and have fun along the way. Which is why I share my stories with you all.
The rest of the evening was wonderful! My bridesmaid Shayna did a beautiful tribute to my mother who passed away 5 years ago this summer to breast cancer at the young age of 49, and we handed out origami cranes of hope made by Shayna to all our guests as a reminder to all to keep hope in their hearts always. We couldn’t have asked for a better wedding, full of love and great company and amazing cupcakes made by my dear friend Hilary. Our MC Rob was the best ever and I had the chance to dance with my brother, see family I haven’t seen in ages and of course dance with my new husband! So there seems to be a theme reoccurring throughout this blog post today: dance dance dance! But I slipped out of my heels and into my silver Birkenstocks!
Keep on Dancing,