Help us find a cure for paralysis

12:22 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
Take a look here, and browse through the stories.. donate $5 and help those of us affected by spinal cord injuries.

My story is there along with my picture :)

RIP Bear

7:25 PM Edit This 0 Comments »

My big black beast Bear is sick and had to be put down. I love him so much and can't believe I am losing another cat so soon. He found us and it took a good 18 months before he came to live in the house for good. I had him for just over 6 years, the vet says he was close to 14 years old. I am glad that I was able to give him a good 6 years of love and cuddles and happiness. He was my little shadow and would cry when I left the house. RIP Bear, I love you! xox

What does TM feel like?

1:53 PM Edit This 1 Comment »
I don't have MS but have TM (transverse myelitis), something related with many similar symptoms. Most people do not have a clue what it feels like or what I go through to get through a day. I walk with a cane and a full-length leg brace which while it allows me to walk also adds more weight and uses more energy.
I got this off another blog, it is not my own writing but I felt that it is accurate and worth sharing.

Another favorite of mine is the Spoon Theory, it can be found on this website:
Please read it too!

MS Symptoms - What It Feels Like

When we say we can't do something because we don't feel well, put yourself in our shoes by using the examples of our symptoms below---

What You Can do To Understand Painful Heavy Legs... Apply tightly 20 lb ankle weights and 15 lb thigh weights then take a 1 mile walk, clean the house, go shopping and then sit down - how ya' feeling now?

Painful Feet... Put equal or unequal amounts of small pebbles in each shoe then take a walk.

Loss of Feeling in Hands and/or Arms... Put on extra thick gloves and a heavy coat then try and pick up a pencil, if successful, stab yourself in the arm.

Loss of Feeling in Feet and/or Legs... Ask a doc for a shot of novocaine in both of your legs and then try and stand up and walk.

TN (Trigeminal Neuralgia). ..Take an ice pick and jam it into your ear or cheek whenever the wind blows on it, or a stray hair touches it. If you want something easier to do, get someone to punch you in the jaw, preferably daily.

Uncontrollable Itching... Glue or sew small steel wool pads to the inside of your shirt, pants and undergarments wear them for an entire day.

Tingling... Stick your finger in an electrical socket - preferably wet.

Tight Banded Feeling... Put 12 inch wide belt around you and make is as tight as you can and leave it there for the entire day.

Shots... Fill one of our spare needles with saline solution and give yourself a shot every time we do our shot.

Side Effects From the Shot... Bang your head against a wall, wrap yourself in a heating pad, wrap your entire body with an ace bandage tightly then finally treat yourself to some spoiled food or drink.

Trouble Lifting Arms... Apply 20 LB wrist weights and try and reach for something on the highest shelf in your house.

Spasticity... Hook bungee cords to your rear belt loops and rear pant leg cuffs then for your arms hook bungee cords to your shirt collar and cuffs on shirt sleeves then go dancing.

Poor Hearing/Buzzing in Ears...Put a bee in each ear and then put a plug in each one...bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Balance and Walking Problems... Drink 100 proof grain alcohol and then sit and spin in an office chair for 30 minutes, now try and walk.

Urgently Needing to Pee... We put a .5 liter remote controlled water bag and drip tube in your pants, we point out 2 restrooms in a crowded mall, then we tell you that you have 30 seconds before we activate the water bag (by remote control) to get to a restroom. Just for spite we may make that 20 seconds without telling you.

Bizarre and Inexplicable Sensations... Place tiny spiders on your legs or arms and allow them to periodically crawl around throughout the day.

Pins and Needles... Stab yourself repeatedly with needles all over your body or better yet....Get a large tattoo.

Dizziness (Vertigo)... Get on a gently rocking boat all day and all night and take several walks around the deck.

Fatigue... Stay awake for two full days to induce incredible fatigue and then cook dinner, clean the house, walk the dog and see how you feel.

Bowel Problems... Take a 4 day dose of an anti-diarrhea medicine followed directly by a 3 day dose of stool softeners for a minimum of 3 weeks, at the end of 3 weeks sit down on a hard uncushioned chair and stay there till tears appeared.

Burning Feeling... Make a full pot of boiling water and then have someone fill a squirt gun with the boiling water and shoot it at yourself all day long. However, you can give us the pleasure of shooting you instead...optional of course.

Intention Tremor... Hook your body to some type of vibrating machine try and move your legs and arms.....hmmm are you feeling a little shaky?

Buzzing Feeling When Bending Our Heads to Our Chest (L'Hermitte's)... Place an electrical wire on your back and run it all the way down to your feet, then pour water on it and plug it in.

Vision Problems (Optic Neuritis)... Smear vaseline on glasses and then wear them to read the newspaper.

Memory Issues... Have someone make a list of items to shop for and when you come back that person adds two things to the list and then they ask why you didn't get them. When you come back from shopping again they take the list and erase three things and ask why you bought those things.

Foot Drop... Wear one swim fin and take about a 1/2 mile walk.

Depression... Take a trip to the animal shelter everyday and see all the lonely animals with no home. You get attached to one of the animals and when you come back the next day you come in while they are putting her/him asleep.

Fear... Dream that you have lost complete feeling in your feet and when you wake up wiggle your feet, just so happens they don't move. Think about this every night wondering whether something on your body won't work the next day.

Swallowing... Try swallowing the hottest chili pepper you can find.

Heat Intolerance or Feeling Hot When it's Really Not... You are on a nice vacation to Alaska. It's 35° outside and 65° inside. Light a fire for the fireplace and then get into it. Once you have reached about 110° tell me how you feel, even a person without MS would feel bad, now add all of the above symptoms - welcome to our world.

And Finally... After subjecting yourself to the items above, let everyone tell you that you are just under a lot of stress, it's all in your head and that some exercise and counseling is the answer.

Summer job

2:00 PM Edit This 1 Comment »
Sounds like when I was a teen and had summer jobs like mother's helper. But no, I am working at the Children's hospital doing research in TB for a new TB test recently approved in Quebec (QFT: Quantiferon) . It's with a Public Healh PhD student and the Respiratory TB Clinic. I am amazed at how much TB there still is in North America, and I just have the kid's number let alone the adults still affected by it.
All I can say is YIKES!

You can read more about it here:

It's been shown to be accurate in adults so now we need to see if it is in children as well.

National Nurses Week

6:41 PM Edit This 0 Comments »

It's Nurses Week from May 11-17th
Happy Nurses week to all my fellow nurses! We have come a long way since the "Lady with the Lamp", but what we stand for has not change.

RIP Nadia 1996-2009

12:33 PM Edit This 0 Comments »

My little cat Nadia died today. I got her for my 21st birthday, she was 6 weeks old and teeny tiny. She stayed pretty tiny too. She was such a little toughy. She would tumble down the stairs as a kitten and then jump back up to do it again. She could jump so high in the air too, well over 4 feet.
I will miss her so much, she was a real sweetheart. I love you Nan!
This is the last picture I took of her. Her last day with us, she looks peaceful resting on her paw like that.

Colds suck & Homemade Soup

4:00 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
I have a cold.. last night had a fever. Today had a fever for a few hours, took Tylenol and feel better now. I decided to make homemade soup. My mom made homemade turkey soup with leftover turkey and veggies and rice. It was really good, but we ate it all. I decided to make another one with what I had.


I bought 3 red peppers and an orange one and figured I should use them up before they go bad. I looked up a recipe for roasted red pepper soup and combined 2 recipes in one. It took me 2 hours! BUT it is so GOOD! I mean kick-ass yummy good! I am holding out to eat it for supper, but seriously could have had it now!

4 Red peppers, roasted and chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium potatoes, diced and boiled
4 cups (28 ounces) chicken broth
1 tsp cayenne pepper or ground chili (more or less to taste)
2 Tbs Vegetable Oil

Roasted Peppers:
brush each pepper with veggie oil (not olive oil, it burns and smokes a lot)
place on silver tray on highest level oven rack
Oven should be at 450 F
Skin will bubble on peppers, turn them over with tongs and let skin bubble
takes about 30 min to do
Remove from over and place in bowl.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap to keep steam in, this will make it easier for skin to peel off.
Let cool for about 20 min.
Remove skin and remove seeds and membranes

In a pot,
Add veggie and minced garlic and onions until softened
Add peppers and heat through
Add 4 cups chicken broth
Add Chili or Cayenne
Bring to a boil and let simmer 20-30 minutes

Add soup to blender in batches along with potatoes. Use a sieve to strain it after each batch and return to a pot and bring to a boil.
It took me 3-4 times through a blender to get it smooth.

You can add a dollop of sour cream to it as well when you serve it.

** potatoes can be replaced with 1/2 cup heavy cream
I used potatoes to thicken it as me and cream do not get along anymore...

For the pen lover..

11:50 PM Edit This 0 Comments »

Those who know me, know that I own way more pens that anyone actually needs! I love pens.. cool pens that are different, not the standard Bic pen. I recently saw this site and have fallen in love!

What us BPI's can do!

12:27 PM Edit This 3 Comments »

Progressing by leaps and bounds
Young gymnast overcomes birth injury with hard work
Loading multimedia...

DAVE LONDRES / Observer-Dispatch
Morgan Traut, 9, of Frankfort, pulls herself up on the uneven bars during practice Tuesday at Empire Gymnastics and Fitness in Frankfort.
Posted Mar 18, 2009 @ 10:05 AM

When she was 3 months old, Morgan Traut’s parents weren’t sure if she was going to be able to move her left arm.

Now, they sometimes are blown away as she uses that arm to vault herself into handstands and swing around the uneven parallel bars.

“We’re extremely lucky that she could be doing what she’s doing,” said her father, Rob Traut. “Honestly, we didn’t know if she’d ever be able to do anything like this.”

Morgan, a 9-year-old from Frankfort, was born with Erb’s Palsy, a birth injury that damages nerves causing paralysis of some muscles in the arm and shoulder.

Back then, the family drove to Syracuse to get their daughter the physical therapy she needed. The disability and its potential for recovery varies from person to person, so it was hard to know how far along Morgan would ultimately come.

“We looked forward to going,” said Kim Traut, her mother. “We were getting good news every time we brought her. We wanted to see what progress she’d make the next time.”

Even then, Rob said, he could see a gritty look on his daughter’s face. The parents agree they knew she was determined then, and it’s a trait she’s carried to the present.

“Most kids that do have a disability don’t move up as quickly as Morgan,” said Dawn Kochan, a coach and the owner at Empire Gymnastics and Fitness in Frankfort. “But that’s the work ethic, the determination and everything she’s willing to put into it.”

So, even though she just started gymnastics in September, Morgan already has won three medals, including a gold for the vault. She put them on the doorknob of her bedroom.

“I felt good when I won,” she said. “It makes you feel like you did something you can be happy about.”

Morgan’s left arm still is a bit crooked when she tries to do routines on the uneven bars.
She hates the uneven bars.

She knows she might have to go to a few more sessions of open gym to perfect her skills, but said she’ll ultimately be as good as anyone else.

“It makes it harder for me to do the bars,” she said. “Sometimes, the coaches have to help me more, but I can do it.”

In addition to gymnastics, Morgan also swims, skis and plays soccer. She used to take dance and played tee-ball. Her parents say she’s just competitive, and she hasn’t let her arm stop her from competing.

“She acts likes it’s not even a problem,” her father said. “You wouldn’t even know anything was wrong with her by talking to her.”

Not sure this is the same child or not, but look at this video!

Stem Cell Breakthrough

11:40 AM Edit This 0 Comments »

Canadians make stem cell breakthrough

Updated: Mon Mar. 02 2009 9:21:47 AM News Staff

Canadian researchers have found what could be a new way to make embryonic-like stem cells, a discovery that could lead to cures for devastating conditions such as spinal cord injury and Parkinson's disease.

Previous methods to create embryonic-like stem cells have used a virus to help transform adult cells into pluripotent stem cells -- cells that can develop into most other cell types. But those methods carried the risk of damaging the cell's DNA. With damaged DNA, the cells often became cancerous or led to abnormalities.

This new method, described online in the journal Nature, uses a novel "wrapping" procedure to deliver specific genes to adult cells to reprogram them into stem cells, without damaging the cell's DNA.

Genetic researchers have long believed that stem cells could be the ticket to finding cures for a host of diseases, since they allow tissue to rebuild itself. The best stem cells come from embryos, which are rich in pluripotent stem cells. But the use of embryonic stem cells has been controversial.

This new simplified method does not require embryos and instead can generate stem cells from many adult tissues, including a patient's own skin cells, allowing for personalized therapies.

It uses a DNA sequence, called a transposon, that can move around within the genome of a cell to extract the cell's DNA and transform it into a stem cell. When it's done the DNA leaves the cell, leaving no trace of itself in the way that viruses sometimes did.

The transposon that seemed to work best is called piggyBac, which has been in use since the 1980s to genetically modify a range of organisms.

In this latest research, Dr. Andras Nagy, from the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, was able to use the piggyBac transposon to create lines of pluripotent stem cells in mouse and then human cells.

Nagy was able to make the breakthrough only after he joined forces with a team led by Dr. Keisuke Kaji from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Regenerative Medicine, at the University of Edinburgh.

Dr Kaji had found a non-viral method to deliver four genes in a single fragment into a cell genome. However, he couldn't figure out how to remove all trace of reprogramming from the genome.

Dr Nagy's group, meanwhile, had developed a system that allowed the removal of inserted genes without leaving a "footprint," but couldn't figure out how to deliver four genes into the same part of the genome.

The teams' breakthrough came when they combined their methods.

The research could transform stem cell technology and accelerate work in regenerative medicine, the field of research focused on finding ways for the human body to repair or replace its own damaged or diseased cells and tissues, says Dr. Jim Woodgett, Director of Research for the Samuel Lunenfeld Institute.

"What's critical about this work is that it makes it much, much easier for labs around the world to create these special cells and it will accelerate discovery," Woodgett told CTV Newsnet.

Dr.Michael Rudnicki of the Stem Cell Network of Canada finds the discovery fascinating and exciting.

"We now have the technology to derive these cells readily and in a way that will facilitate their use clinically," he said. "This is an important finding and is really a breakthrough."

Rudnicki says because the previous viral-based method caused genetic alterations that predisposed the cells to becoming cancerous, many of those cells couldn't be used. With this technique, the cells are undamaged and as good as the stem cells in our body.

"This discovery is going to be widely used," Rudnicki says. "I think it will prove to be the routine method used internationally."

Woodgett believes that within about five years, researchers will be able to use stem cells generated with this new method to research ways of treating kidney disease, heart disease and joint diseases, among others.

"Really, the potential applications are endless. That's why there is so much effort going into this field at this time."

This excites me more than you can ever know! Having a spinal cord injury really is tough to deal with at times, and lately I have had problems accepting that this is permanent... I am nearly at my 5 year anniversary of having Transverse Myelitis with subsequent sequelae and it truly sucks!

More SNOW!

2:15 PM Edit This 0 Comments »
This is Bear Jr, after coming in from the snow... he was NOT pleased!

Now... can we please have NO MORE SNOW? It's enough already! I mean it! NO MORE! It's still snowing! The weather lady on the news last night said another 50 days of winter and that Montreal has already gotten over 67cm of snow, when the average is usually 52cm! YEAH, EWWW! And it's snowing again...