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Trippin’ on Multiple Sclerosis

As we finished our post-church coffee and muffin, Jennifer commented to me, “Why am I so darn tired this morning?”

I paused, squinted my eyes as I looked through my mind for explanations, and then smiled.

“You do realize that a week ago at this time,” I asked, “we were at the airport in Nashville and were getting ready to board the airplane back to Detroit?”

That’s right! We just were in the Music City for what amounted to a 57-hour trip. We were at an MS symposium that IQuity hosted and paid for us and 9 fellow members of its patient advisory council to attend.

The Nashville-based company recently released an RNA-based blood test that uses machine-learning technology to help doctors rule in or rule out a suspected multiple sclerosis diagnosis within seven days, with more than 90 percent accuracy.

But it was more than the trip to Tennessee that has us continually replenishing our energy levels.

In fact, our most-recent excursion was our third out-of-state trip in 30 days. Two of these ventures involved flying, and the other included an 18-hour roundtrip drive to the middle of the Midwest.

Multiple Sclerosis and all its related challenges, as well as accessible restrooms, transportation, restaurants and concert venues were the common threads connecting these memorable moments.

And the most common thread was our determination that MS was not going to stand in our way of fun and happiness.

Uncorking the cure in Oklahoma
• Dates: 11/01/17 to 11/03/17

In early November, we made an impact in Oklahoma. And the Sooner state and its citizens made an impact on us.

We were invited as MS Champions to present at the annual Uncorking the Cure for MS in Tulsa. We enjoyed sharing our stories and connecting with such great people!

How Incredibly fun when you have the honorary chairs for the Uncorking the Cure for MS event greet you when you get off the plane in Tulsa! Thanks, Lucia and Brent 🙂
Looking out at the crowd of more than 400 people who filled the legendary Cain’s Ballroom for Uncorking the Cure for MS. The event raised over $200,000!
Of course we hit the dance floor when the country band took to the stage in Tulsa.
It was so empowering to share our experiences and connect with the crowd.

Golden anniversary in Iowa
• Dates: 11/23/17 to 11/26/17

This was a milestone sort of year for Jennifer’s and my parents. Not only did both couples celebrate their 50th wedding anniversaries, their anniversaries are exactly one week apart! Her parents — Vic and Pam — were married on Nov. 11, 1967, and my parents — Roger and Nancy — were married on Nov. 18, 1967.

We had dinner with her parents to celebrate their big day, and then we went back to the Hawkeye State to spend the weekend with my family in Dubuque.

The guests of honor for our weekend stay in Dubuque, Iowa, were Roger and Nancy, beloved parents of my brother, Mark, sister, Dawn, and me.
From the patio behind our hotel — Grand Harbor Resort — is the legendary Mississippi River. Take the bridge on the left to go to Wisconsin. Use the one on the right and you’re in Illinois.
Check another item off Jennifer’s lifetime wish list: Wake up in Iowa and go to breakfast in Wisconsin for a cheese omelet. Great find at Katina’s Kitchen in Dickeyville!
In an unseasonably warm Black Friday, we didn’t need coats to stroll along the patio outside our hotel as the sun set.














Talkin’ diagnosis in Tennessee
• Dates: 12/01/17 to 12/03/17

As I mentioned earlier in this essay, the trip to Tennessee for the IQuity MS Symposium completed our travels for last month. Whew!

It was an informative and epic sort of event that included us and so many respected bloggers. We’ve connected with many of them throughout the years, but this was our first time meeting most of them face to face. Bloggers we met (and blogs you HAVE to check out!) were: – Kim Standard – Cat Stappas – Dave Bexfield – Caroline Craven – Beth Prystowsky – Stephanie Buxhoeveden – Matt Cavallo – Kathy Reagan Young — Laura Kolaczkowski

Some of us even posted a Facebook Live chat! Check it out to learn more about these influential members of the MS community.

A picture of all IQuity MS Symposium participants, including IQuity CEO Chase Spurlock (at right, next to Jennifer).
Big THANKS to IQuity for ensuring all transportation for the symposium was accessible for all participants!
Following dinner at an incredible Opryland restaurant, Beth from Modern Day MS snapped this photo of me “skillfully” reapplying Jennifer’s lipstick.
Check something off my lifetime wish list: See a show at the Grand Ole Opry House. In this case, we joined other IQuity MS Symposium participants in seeing the incredible Cirque Dreams Holidaze.



Be a champion everyday

I need you to do something for me: Stop reading this for three seconds and think about what you consider the best victory in sports history. …………………. …………………. …………………. OK. Welcome back. What’d you come up with? Perhaps it’s the Miracle on Ice when the amateur American hockey team upset the highly favored Russian team…Continue Reading

My M.S. degree

As Jennifer is back in our Springsteen room developing the PowerPoint for her online class group assignment, I’m here at the dining room table finalizing a continuing education project of my own. She’s closing in on earning her Master of Arts – or M.A. – degree in Humanities. As for me, I’d like to think…Continue Reading

Consider the alternatives

Around about the times Jennifer and I were diagnosed – 14 and 11 years ago, respectively ­– we both heard they were great times to be diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Before we each had the opportunity to punch the optimistic messenger square in the nose (Really? A good time for having a chronic, progressive disease?),…Continue Reading

'Every day, I embrace'

My days are numbered. Medical experts essentially tell me this all the time. I heard it most recently when I attended an MS conference last weekend hosted by the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. In not so many words, they said that most people with Multiple Sclerosis live with the relapsing-remitting form of…Continue Reading