Tag Archives: ms madness

Gina Blue is Disabled Too

A chronic illness companion


My car and I go back a long way, 10 years to be exact.  She was a pretty, blue, 2005, used Toyota Corolla that I bought in 2004.

No, that is not a typo or a result of MS brain fog.  Weird as it seems, the 2005 cars came out early that year and someone bought her right away.  Then they decided that they didn’t like her and returned her to the car place!

Like me, too many times to count, my little Corolla faced rejection early in life.

But I loved her and scooped her up!    She was clean, smart, not too fancy and not too terrible looking; more cute than beautiful.  I didn’t want a flashy vehicle.  I didn’t need something gorgeous that would be too much trouble to keep up with.


Sure, I could have invested in a Lamborghini or a Ferrari- not really, I could barely afford the Corolla- but I fell in love with blue simplicity.

Previously I owned a blue Dodge Neon that my friends said I should name. So I named the car after my fake id- calling it Gina Blue.  But it never really stuck.

I tried the name out on my Corolla too but it also didn’t fit. It makes for a fun blog post name though.

It seemed easier to just call her my car or my baby.

She was absolutely perfect!

For one month.

Then, just before Christmas that year I made the mistake of parking her under a big tree during a freak winter windstorm.  While I hummed carols and mailed off Christmas cards my auto baby became disabled when the tree collapsed on her.

Disabled- having a physical or mental condition that limits movements, senses or activities.  Google



Her roof caved in and her frame was badly bent.  It was a frightening scene.   She needed major reconstructive and cosmetic surgery.

I took her to an auto body place so they would make her perfect again but she was never the same.  She had received a traumatic injury that would haunt the rest of her days.

I was shocked that she couldn’t be healed completely, especially since the auto body guy I took her too was incredibly handsome- how could he not fix her completely?


Before you freak out, I didn’t pick his shop because he was gorgeous; it was just a nice plus when I dropped my baby off and came to visit it from time to time while he was working on her.

Several years later I had to take her back to the shop as her paint was peeling.  And a couple of years after that it started to peel again.

This time I decided to leave her be. I didn’t want her to think that I loved her any less now that she was covered in chipped paint.


Here is the point of my sad tale- You know how they say people start to look like their dogs or their dogs start to look like their people?  Well, I’m convinced that my car is starting to look and act like me.

She received her big traumatic incident right before Christmas.  I received my big traumatic incident (my MS diagnosis) right before Christmas five years later.

The summer after my diagnosis, the heat and humidity made me very sick.  And my car got sick too!!!!

When I took her to a cute mechanic he said the heat just got to her.  He was wrong.  One month later the part that he replaced was the subject of a recall and Toyota sent me a big check.

This should be a lesson- no more good looking car guys touching my baby.


Five years have since passed and I’m still kicking.  I’m slower, have unpleasant symptoms, and am definitely showing my age.

But my car is too!!!! Her paint chipped spots have grown and some have turned to rust.  And now she has sprung a leak! Two leaks actually.

(Yes this reminds me of MS bladder problems. No, I have not yet developed leaks, thankfully.)

Chronic illness-  a condition that is persistent or otherwise long lasting in its effects.   Wikipedia

I took her to a new auto body place and a new auto doctor and was told that he can try to do a simple fix but if that doesn’t help her, she’ll need major, expensive work.

(Hmmm, kind of reminds me of what my neurologist told me about my fatigue and mood swings at my last visit.)

And like a busy specialist, this car doctor can’t treat her for two weeks.  And we have a rain soaked Nor’easter heading our way…


My poor baby.  I have no way to protect her. The most I could do was try to help her through this exacerbation until she can get the help she needs.

I covered her seats with plastic garbage bags and then opened two umbrellas under her weak spots to catch the dripping water.  I know opening an umbrella in the house is bad luck- hopefully opening an umbrella in a car is good luck?

She looks very uncomfortable.

I worry how she will weather this latest storm.

I worry how she’ll feel after her next auto doctor visit.

I worry how I will pay for it.

I worry about the fact that this latest car doctor is older but still handsome- will she be in better hands with an older car doctor?

I do cringe when society focuses on looks and so I know better than to have that as a factor in deciding where she should be sent.  But this is my very own baby we are talking about and the previous cute doctors have been a bad omen.

There was nothing I could really do but wait and worry and hope she does ok.

Picture 63

While I was waiting and worrying there was a knock on my door.  My friend Serena and one of her daughters had arrived with a surprise gift to cheer me up- a funny t-shirt.

Yes, a shirt has nothing to do with a troubled car.  But it reminds me that when you are down and out, your good friends can help pull you through.

And my car has a good friend, a total bestie, me!

Together we will get through this latest symptom she is facing.

Together we can weather any storms: rain, fatigue, new symptoms, injections, MRI’s whatever they may be.

I just hope that a bumper sticker, rather than a t-shirt, will cheer her up….


Guess What!  Guess What!  Guess What!!!  The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America has given MS Madness! a shout out in their latest edition of The Motivator!  Check it out here!  And please check out the rest of this awesome publication while you’re at it…..  The MSAA rocks!!

The Motivator


Auld Lang Syne Means “Old and Sigh….”

An MS’er tackles a new year and offers a contest update


Happy days after the holidays friends, or, as I like to call them, the “ok to have Christmas cookies for breakfast time as you have so many to eat in order not to offend the people who gave them to you and you will start a health kick in the New Year anyway” week…

If you are at all like me, your holiday of choice was filled with food, family and friends and all of them are making you sluggish and nostalgic in the aftermath. Today my brain is foggier than usual and foggier then the fog outside as I ponder all things emotional, old and new.


For example, I have a friend having a birthday this week and she is turning 45. How on Earth is that possible?

Don’t get me wrong, I have friends of all ages and a true friend is not determined by how old they are. But this friend is in my same age bracket and if she is turning 45, what does that say about me?

I shiver at the thought!

The good news is that even stuffed with roast beast, potatoes, baked goods and chocolate, I got on the scale and discovered that I weigh 6 lbs less than I did at this time last year-woohoo!


Since my goal last year was to lose 20lbs by my next neurologist appointment (that was this past July and who’s to say that I didn’t lose it?) and I have had another appointment since then and that was three months ago and my goal had nothing to do with follow up appointments, I am considering this a success!

And since last year I went on a family trip where I lost six lbs chasing a 21 month old and his baby brother, and this year their ages are now 2.9 months and 17 months, my plan was to lose 12 lbs chasing both of them. Hey, you do math your way and I will do it mine.

The plan did not work however as I only lost 1 lb on the trip this year proving of course, that I still suck at math.


Sitting down with a plate of holiday treats I decided to take stock of the year by looking over some former blogs. Turns out, when I go below the bare bones of the musings throughout the year, I discovered that it was a bit of a tough one.

There was a blizzard, ridiculous heat and humidity, bug infestations, being forced to move during the heat and humidity and bug infestations, two unexpected deaths of two dear friends, and a couple of falls.

Note- I only document one fall in my blogs this past year, a fall where Fido, my pet portable ac tripped me. The second fall happened on my recent trip where I got my first black eye, a real shiner. But man, you should have seen the sidewalk!

Looking over the blogs though, I also found some great stuff.


I got to see the Rolling Stones perform live which was huge because that could be the last time they perform live together again.

Yes, I did say that the previous six or seven times I have seen them live but you just never know.

I was able to keep my sense of humor through most of the bad, hopefully helping all of you giggle as I kept from going crazy by sharing some of the bad with you.

And my year was filed with wonderful and fun help from dear family and friends, for which I am super grateful.

So the good of the year outweighed the bad. And maybe the bad of 2013 will help ease some of the potential bad of 2014, making 2014 a total kick butt year!


For example, while the move came at the worst time possible and I miss my little house, when the bugs and pollen and heat hit this spring, I will be in a new rental better able to handle it and complete with a real ac.

Don’t worry Fido fans, I will keep him around too if for no other reason than that he has stayed super loyal, despite the pushing incident.

And while my ‘get fit’ plan continues to be a work in progress (I did refer to it as baby steps though this baby is about to enter high school I have been working on this so long,) I have dropped 12 lbs and more importantly, adopted some healthier habits. All the better to move forward with in 2014.

So what if the end 2013 means we are all one year older, including my birthday friend. Let’s all give a collective sigh at this knowledge.


BUT, let’s use that knowledge to work even harder to have a much improved 2014. I know I plan on it!

Happy Birthday dear, thrilled that you are older than me, friend!


And Happy New Year to everyone!

PS One of the things that took a lot of work in 2013 was getting my book ready for publication. Now I can use 2014 to reap the rewards of its release and count all the huge book sales- hopefully!

Please mark on your calendars that MS Madness: A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis will be out in February!

In anticipation of its release, I can now announce the December contest winner! It is Cindy from Indiana. Her response to the question of what two quotes do I open MS Madness with were the first and most accurate. The quotes are-


“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22 NIV


“A smile relieves a heart that grieves…” Jagger/Richards from Waiting on a Friend


Cindy got the exact Proverbs verse and while she did choose the Rolling Stones, she didn’t get the exact quote from them.

Congratulations Cindy! You win a $25 gift card to Amazon and an autographed copy of MS Madness!

Others won a free e-book of MS Madness for their guesses and I will be in touch with them as well.

Thank you all for your support.

There will be one more contest in January which I am not going to tell you about now, mostly because my brain is too fogged to come up with contest details.

But please stay tuned!!!



Image courtesy of vectorolie/FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Image courtesy of lamnee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of luigi diamanti/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of vectorolie/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman/FreeDigitaalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of luigi diamanti/FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Hey MS, Hug This!

Some results, dancing, and a little bit of a book


Hope everyone is stuffed in a good way this day after Thanksgiving!

First up on today’s blog, I must apologize for misstating the chapter of MS Madness: A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis. I have been talking about the Hey MS, Hug This as chapter 19 in my upcoming book. It is actually chapter 20. Forgive me for this lie. It wasn’t intentional. It was MS’s fault.

As promised, I had planned to name the winner of my first contest. Unfortunately, there were no winners, and for that, I apologize as well. I thought it would be easy. The questions was, Hey MS, Hug This, is one of the more serious chapters in my book and it details one of the most frustrating aspects of multiple sclerosis. What is that aspect? Hint- it is not the MS Hug.

The most common answers were fatigue and bladder issues, and it is true, those are incredibly frustrating. But the answer I was going for was FRUSTRATION itself. To me, frustration just sums it all up.

A painful symptom is called a hug.


The so you don’t pee all night meds give you wicked dry mouth which makes you need to drink water constantly which makes you pee even more.

You can fight fatigue by taking better care of yourself but taking better care of yourself requires energy you don’t have because you are too fatigued.

And on and on the frustration goes with multiple sclerosis…

I’m sorry that there were not any winners but I thank you all for entering. I will announce my next contest on Friday, 12/6 and I promise that the prizes will be greater and I will offer more flexibility in the answer to guarantee a winner!

But also as promised, if you are still too stuffed to move and want a little reading, here is a preview of MS Madness: A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis.


From Chapter 20 Hey MS, Hug This!

…..What do things like boyfriends, memories, and balancing partying with being responsible have to do with MS? All of them were aging me much faster than I wanted to be aged. And that was completely frustrating! Maybe only a little frustrating as I was already a cognitive mess. But in these months following the diagnosis, all these things started to swirl together in my jumbled brain. It all made relieving, frustrating sense…….

……By my late thirties, I was so convinced I was turning into an old lady far too early that I began to state this fact to people. I had noticed Zack around town before we actually met and even though he claimed he caught me making googly eyes at him, I always denied it.

“I was NOT making googly eyes at you,” I would insist. “I just wanted to know who you were and what you were doing in my town, that’s all.”

After we actually met, he was more the pursuer. He was two years younger than me and I already felt like an old lady, so I balked at dating a younger man. When he asked how old I was I told him that I was eighty-seven. Luckily, he ignored my feeble joke and we started dating anyway.


My elderly weirdness increased. My bladder became more obnoxious and soon I stopped drinking beer. One beer and I would have to hang out near a bathroom for hours, at least.

The extreme fatigue came next. Zack and I could never watch an entire movie together. I was always asleep halfway through and would have to finish it the next morning with a cup of my grandma’s tea, sweetened just so. By that time, Zack’s normal brain had moved on to other things so rarely did we ever enjoy or discuss the movie together.

We kept trying though and even went with friends to see the second installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise at a surround sound theater. Amid the bar fights, explosions, and general loud pirate activity, I was asleep.

(For the record, I did not fall asleep during the third and fourth versions as the anticipation of seeing Keith Richards on the big screen was enough to keep me alert.) ……..


….Later, of course, I realized all of those issues were not hypochondria but the early symptoms of my strange disease. The peeing constantly was from bladder issues associated with MS.

The fatigue stemmed from my body trying to fight its own immune system that was causing the illness.

The aches were from spasticity, which means that my muscles were going spastic.

The mood swings probably weren’t about MS, but let’s blame MS anyway.

The weird stomach ache was a symptom called an MS hug. A hug? That’s what my bizarre, painful, twisting, almost hospital-going, practically ruining the Portuguese Festival illness event was, a hug sent to me with care directly from the huge MS PAC-Man-looking antibodies in my body.

I thought my appendix was bursting, my friend thought I was pregnant, my cousin thought I needed to go to my grandmother’s and take one of her laxatives, his girlfriend thought I should consume weeds. But no, it was one of many hugs. Hey MS, hug this!…..

…..Even dear friends began to think nothing was wrong with me. Well, that was just fine, until one of the symptoms did come up. Then I was making excuses. If I felt unable to do something, they thought I wasn’t trying hard enough. When I tried to explain why it was tricky, then I was using MS as an excuse.

“You can’t blame MS for everything,” I was often told in regard to my exhaustion, clumsiness due to lack of balance, and my inability to focus on something. I laughed it off when it took me longer to get a joke, or when I had a hard time trying to figure out what was being said when words were spelled out instead of simply stated.

If one of my friends asked me in front of her young child, “Have you seen a-s-s-h-o-l-e lately?” I never got what she was saying on the first try. I had to piece it together in my MS brain.


We would be onto a whole different conversation before I figured out what a-s-s-h-o-l-e spelled and which a-s-s-h-o-l-e that friend was referring too. The irony of being an honors college graduate with a major in English who suddenly couldn’t spell a-s-s-h-o-l-e was not lost on me…..

…..Dr. M and I eventually decided I should go to a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist. At the orientation they told me to think up my dream job and let them know when I met with the counselor what it was and they would help me find it. So I did.

I was writing a lot and thought maybe they knew of a paper where I could freelance and/or a company that needed somebody part time to write their newsletter. I could do that. The counselor told me starving writers were a dime a dozen, so I obviously needed to forget about them helping with that type of work.

What else did I want to do?

“Ummm, how about working in reception? I’m pretty friendly.”

She told me I didn’t need her help to get that job. Probably true, but I didn’t know how much I could make with my state insurance and needed her input on what people with relapsing- remitting MS do for work, when they have symptoms that come and go. In orientation, they had said they worked with people with MS all the time-they must know how people like me managed.

“Oh, you’ll have to figure those things out on your own.”

She was very nice but I was very confused and frustrated and not sure any more what I was doing there. After many calls and different answers and more hold time and confusion I did learn that if I got federal assistance and a part time job, I could not make more than forty dollars a month or I would lose my health insurance. But I wasn’t angry. Just frustrated.



And now for our goodbye to season 17 of Dancing with the StarsJack Osbourne won! OK, officially, he didn’t take home the Mirror Ball Trophy, Amber Riley and Derek Hough did. And well deserved it was- they were fantastic!

But Jack went all the way, coming in third and dancing like he never thought he could! Who would have thought that without any experience at all, he would take his spirit and determination this far! And he happily brought all of us along the journey with him.

Way to go Jack! May you spend some time resting your achy feet and on to the next adventure!!!




A Few of My Favorite Things

A little MS gratitude just in time for Thanksgiving


Hello friends-  this blog is a repeat as I am kind of out of town and thus, a little too out of my mind to come up with a new blog.  At least this repeat has some holiday relevancy.  Even if you don’t like reading repeats, please look to the bottom for a Dancing with the Stars update and a little reminder.

For some reason, I can’t get the above song out of my head even though I have usually found it slightly annoying. It is kind of a Christmas song, although not written as such. Since I love autumn so much that I cherish taking my cool weather holidays one at a time, I’m not sure why this song is hanging around my lesion filled brain.

Perhaps it is because next week is Thanksgiving and the above reminds everyone of what what’s her name from that movie is grateful for. Thus, why isn’t A Few of My Favorite Things thought of as a Thanksgiving song?


I have so many things for which to be grateful, that I couldn’t possible name them all or fit them into a song. And trust me, mittens and kittens are not at the top of the list.

Just thinking about Thanksgiving makes me grateful.

For example, if my small family winds up at my place on the holiday then I am super grateful that the local grocery store sells what I like to call ‘turkey in a box’; a complete holiday dinner you can just throw into the oven all prepared and no one is the wiser.

I am grateful for pumpkin pie- how could I have possibly left out pumpkin pie on my prior Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere post?

I am thankful that Thanksgiving is a day where it is perfectly appropriate to eat too much and veg out. It is actually un-American not to do so.

And I am thankful that even the fruits and veggies cooperate on this day and aren’t too obnoxious- think mashed potatoes, stuffing with celery, cranberry sauce, candied yams, pumpkin pie. I know, again with the pumpkin overkill.


I am grateful for the knowledge that Black Friday is just a scam of hype and deals that aren’t really deals, thus allowing smug people like me the luxury to stay home, eat too many leftovers and veg out for one more day.

But this is a multiple sclerosis blog and so if I am going to list things that I am grateful for, or a few of my favorite things, I should focus on MS. What could one possibly find to be grateful for about MS?

Nothing really.  Absolutely nothing.

But in thinking about my last few years living with this illness, I did miraculously come up with some things associated with MS to be grateful for.

For example, while I am not thankful to have to give myself shots, I AM very thankful that they seem to be working. And I am thankful for the extra fat cushion I have to soften the shot just a bit. I still HATE doing them though.


I am thankful to have a knowledgeable, kind, patient, young, handsome neurologist on my side as I battle MS. I am NOT thankful that he happens to be married but I guess you can’t have everything.

I am grateful that my primary doctor diagnosed my diagnosis quickly without having to do a spinal tap as I have heard they are just horrific. She just had me electrocuted and shot through a tube a couple of times and we were good to go.

These bits of MS gratitude did not seem grateful enough. I started looking over my blog posts for more help and realized that I started this blog over two years ago and it has since grown from a whenever I felt like it post, to a once a month post, to twice a month post and then to a once a week post. (Thank you to multiple sclerosis for continuing to give me enough material to keep this wacky blog going- oh wait- maybe not….)

In my past blogs there were other examples of MS things I had to be thankful for. In the post Stormy, Sleepy Sandy, I talk about my bladder alarm clock screaming at me to get up. I am thankful that the alarm clock part of my bladder is still working. It has been quite a long while since I have had ‘an accident’ and I would like to keep it that way for as long as possible.


I am thankful that kale is considered an awesome veggie for MS’er’s as well as the world as a whole, and I can sneak its precious nutrients into my all time favorite comfort food, kale soup- see post Kale, the New Frontier.

I am thankful that due to cognitive difficulties that come from MS, when I do something stupid I have a disease I can totally blame it on (Stupid MS).

While fatigue and clumsiness are constant companions, and I am may not move so gracefully going about my day- No Moves Like Jagger but Smooth Like Montel and Chop Their Happy Little Heads Off posts- I am grateful that I am still moving. Being able to move about without any help is definitely something to be grateful for, even if you do move like a slug most days.

And while an eye exam discovered a new disgusting condition, Oily Tears and All, I am grateful it didn’t show any significant damage as yet to my optic nerve. I will be able to continue reading the numbers on my bedroom scale and the milligrams on my medications going up, up, up a while longer…

And on this sappy holiday of Thanksgiving, I must say I am thankful to God who is the real being responsible for the above. My health, my sense of humor or lack thereof depending on your opinion dear reader, my friends, my family and everything good comes from HIM. Fortunately for me, HE also enjoys a good joke or two. HE absolutely appreciates a rip roaring laugh. I think that may be why he created us in the first place!


DWTS Moment- It happened friends, it really happened!  Jack Osbourne made it into the finals of Dancing with the Stars!

It didn’t come easily as it was a difficult week for him.  In a very emotional letter on Facebook, and on the show, Jack discussed his tough week with MS relapses.  He described the many symptoms that attacked that week and how they affected not only him, but people who rely on him, like his dance partner Cheryl Burke.    Cheryl didn’t totally understand but she did her best to stand by her partner  and remind him that “it’s just a dance competition.”

I so admire Jack Osbourne and all that he has done on this reality dance show.  Not because he is famous.  And not because he has MS, but in spite of it.  Jack reminds us of the unexpected ugliness that can it rear it’s head on our fight to follow our dreams, and of the ways we can still succeed by adjusting.  He also reminds the rest of the world that while our world may look pretty, inside it ain’t always so.

And to top it all off, he is a kick butt dancer!  Way to go Jack!


I am not posting the voting methods today as I’m not sure if you can vote this week.  Yes, I have watched every season since the show started and so I should have this info down but hey, I have MS.

Friendly Reminder-Only one week left to enter my contest!  Please enter by sending me a message in the contact section of this website and/or by sending a private message to my Facebook page Yvonne desousa.com


Next week I will announce the winner/winners and include excerpts of the chapter from my soon to be released book, MS Madness: A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis the answer is based on. Please see my last blog on 11/15 for the contest rules.

Here is the question-

Chapter 19 (Hey MS, Hug This) is one of the more serious chapters of MS Madness and discusses one of the most frustrating aspects of living with multiple sclerosis.  What is that aspect?

Hint- it is not the MS Hug.

A Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving to all!



Beating Up the Bully, Anew

An MS blog redo, a Mad contest, and our boy Jack

Today’s blog-

Bullying is bad, very bad. Violence is bad too. Never, ever be violent. It is mean, the man upstairs doesn’t like it and legal fees are expensive.

I was never a bully when I was younger. Fortunately, I was never bullied either. I was simply a go with the flow type of kid. Funny then, how as an adult, I so enjoy beating up on a bully even though I am basically nonviolent.


In my twenties, I took my nephew to a zoo with an awesome play structure. He was five. The structure had a Tarzan-like swing where kids reached up to grab a bar and then could zip-line from one side to the other. I noticed that Drew had been at the head of the line for a while, with a bunch of little kids behind him. The line was not moving.

I went over to investigate and saw that while my nephew and the other kids waited patiently, a taller, older girl, probably at the cruel age of nine, was grabbing the bar first and swinging in a taunting manner. I watched her do this several times.


Finally, using my adult height to the utmost advantage, I leaned over her and grabbed the bar just as she went to reach it. It was all she could do to steady herself and keep from falling.

I glared the meanest bully look I could come up with and said, “it is HIS turn now,” and handed the bar to Drew.

She looked at me terrified and ran away. I let Drew take a few turns and then I passed the bar to the next short kid in line.


One might say that I shouldn’t be picking on someone younger than me and/or that I missed an excellent teaching opportunity to show the brat, oops, I mean sweet little girl, a wonderful, life altering lesson. But I must admit, I still get a sadistic moment of glee when I think about it.

Does that make me bad?

What does this have to do with multiple sclerosis? Well, I see MS as the ultimate bully.

The meanest playground stalking, slang calling, tear inducing, skinned knee causing bully around. And that sadistic moment of glee encompasses me again when I feel like I am beating up on it.


Since violence is wrong, (and really, who would I be violent towards?) my bully beating weapon of choice is a giggle stick.

Soon after my diagnosis I decided that whenever possible, I would laugh when MS was trying to make me cry. It isn’t always possible of course. Sometimes the meanest bully actually bites.

But when I can taunt MS by making fun of it, it is sadism of the righteous kind.


Unfortunately, MS has given me way too much material to work with. I have a lot of giggle stick beating to do. So much so, that I wrote a soon to be released book just to beat up on MS some more.

It is called MS Madness: A “Giggle More, Cry Less” Story of Multiple Sclerosis.


Today’s contest-

To help all of you get as excited as I am about the book-ok, that may be a stretch as I am really, really excited- I will be featuring a contest each month until the MS Madness February release date.

Here are November’s contest details-


1. The contest will run from today, 11/15/13 to midnight on 11/28/13.

2. The winner will be announced in the 11/29/13 blog which will also include excerpts from Chapter 19 of MS Madness which is titled Hey MS, Hug This!

3. The first correct answer to the contest question will win a free autographed copy of the book along with a $10 Amazon gift card to use to buy more copies of my book. (Ok kidding. The winner will still get the Amazon gift card but I don’t think that I can legally insist that you use it to buy more copies of my book. I can only strongly suggest what an excellent use of the gift card that would be!)

4. If more than one person gets the answer to the contest question, the next five correct answers will get a free ebook.

5. You MUST enter by either private messaging me here in the contact section of http://yvonnedesousa.com/contact/or by sending a private message to my website Facebook page Yvonne desousa.com If you chose to enter using my Facebook page, please like it if you have not done so already.


6. Your answer must be specific.

7. Only one guess per person allowed.

8. Regular followers of my blog have a slight edge as the contest is based on book trivia that you may or may not be able to figure out from things I have posted about previously.

9. Friends and family are eligible to enter as long as they don’t actually know the answer. That leaves my writing group out. Ok, they can enter the contest but they just can’t win!

10. If you don’t win, don’t fret. There will be additional contests in December and January.


Ok- are you ready for the contest question?? Here it is-

Chapter 19 (Hey MS, Hug This!) is one of the more serious chapters of MS Madness and details one of the most frustrating aspects of living with multiple sclerosis. What is that aspect?

Hint- it is not the MS Hug.

Thank you for entering and good luck! Please don’t forget to submit your entry via private message.

And now, for-

Today’s DWTS moment-


This is a brief moment as there is nothing much to be said except-

Holy Dancing Jack! Semi-finals, here he comes!!!!!

I see a possible Mirror Ball Trophy in Jack Osbourne’s future but he can’t do it alone.


Vote for Jack Osbourne and his partner Cheryl Burke by calling 1-800-868-3402 up to 60 minutes after the show on Monday nights or by logging onto ABC.com or Facebook.com/votedwts up to 24 hours after.


Note- this actual blog post was originally published in May 2013 on MSRelief.com









Things That Go Ouch In The Night

MS weirdness, MS dancing, MS news and a favor


If you are like me, then you are used to unexplainable MS aches, pains, and strains. There are so many that I have stopped trying to count. And I have definitely stopped trying to figure out what causes them.

I just take one (or two,) Aleve tablets (my personal favorite of the over the counter meds,) and try to move on, perhaps whinnying or complaining if I also happen to be super grouchy that day. (Please see my prior post about mood swings titled, Call Me Oscar.)

And, so you don’t worry, I will tell you that I do know relying on Aleve is bad for your tummy; hence why I have prescription heartburn medicine that I take along with it. (Why isn’t it called tummyburn?)


That’s the way MS rolls; one drug takes care of one symptom but causes another, and so you take another drug to combat that symptom and so on and so on and so on…

But back to the aches, pains, and strains. I am more fortunate than some of my other MS friends in that the pain MS throws at me isn’t too terribly horrible. But because it is MS, it insists on being weird.


Just so my brain doesn’t get too complacent, multiple sclerosis decided to toss something new in the mix, just to shake things up. For the last several nights, when I wake up for one of my many, many middle of the night trips to the bathroom, I awake filled with all kinds of aches, pains, and strains. Stabbing sensations in my legs, throbbing feet, headache, sore throat, brutal ear aches- in both ears no less- or any combination thereof.

I tell myself that this is not MS. I must be coming down with something (virus, cold, fever, infection, malaise, etc.) and in the morning I will make an appointment to see my doctor. And, also luckily for me, MS fatigue overtakes MS weirdness and I fall back to sleep.


When I wake up in the morning, I (of course,) run to the bathroom again. I take my thyroid pill, (a whole separate diagnosis, a whole separate drug issue,) and since I can’t eat or drink for 30 minutes afterwards, I go back to bed. In that time the aches, pains, and strains seem to go away. I become convinced I dreamt the whole body of issues. Too often the headaches stick around and I will take my Aleve, but otherwise, the virus seems to be gone.

This has been going on for several days. I’m a pretty intense dreamer- am I dreaming the whole thing? Does the dream me have an ear infection or strep throat but the awake me is healthy?

Is it a mix- are some of the symptoms MS related and the others viral? But I am on an anti-viral medication (for fatigue-figure THAT one out,) so how does that work? Do my meds run out in the middle of the night and that is why everything comes at me then? If so, how come this just started recently when I have been on all of this same stuff for years?


Since it happens at night, and night is when the monsters come out, is this just a medical monster mash designed to help me get ready for Halloween?

You might suggest I visit a doctor to discuss this but how can I go see a doctor when by morning I don’t have any symptoms for him to look at? Am I going crazy? How else can I explain this latest weirdness?

Oh wait, that answer I’ve got. If it’s medical and it’s weird, it must be multiple sclerosis….


On to DWTS– what an incredibly beautiful and emotional night it was. I have been a fan long before Jack Osbourne joined the cast and I think this night of the stars recounting their most memorable years was the best ever. But Jack discussing his MS diagnosis only 2 and a half weeks after his daughter was born was beyond touching. His raw emotions as a father combined with his fears for his future health brought the ballroom to tears. He then danced a flawless waltz.

I was so moved I almost forgot to vote. Luckily, I came to my senses and managed to get my votes in!


Memorable MS quotes of the evening-

“If you don’t have bad, then you can’t appreciate the good,” Jack.

“Your hand sort of goes in a peculiar way,” Len.

“You even managed to get your bum under control,” Bruno.

Vote for Jack Osbourne and his partner Cheryl Burke by calling 1-800-868-3402 up to 60 minutes after the show on Monday nights or by logging onto ABC.com or Facebook.com/votedwts up to 24 hours after.

Now for the big news, followed by a big favor! It’s official, the title for my upcoming book is-

MS Madness!

A Giggle More, Cry Less Story of Multiple Sclerosis

It is scheduled to be released in February 2014, just in time for National Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month! I can’t wait to share with all of you the story of the several months before my diagnosis and the year that followed, a story told with honesty, frustration, inspiration and, of course, my own unusual sense of humor.

If you haven’t done so already, please consider liking my professional page on Facebook, Yvonne deSousa.com where I will regularly post status on the release date, preorder information, book signings and a contest!

Thank you all for your amazing support!