Monday, October 31, 2011

Just a coincidence ...

... or meant to be? I don't know but this is, well, weird. In a round about way whilst looking for a girlfriend's postal address this morning (heh Susan!) I stumbled (quite literally) upon some old journaling for a layout I did back in 2009. The weird bit about it is I wrote this journaling exactly two years ago to the day! Coincidence? Meant to be?

Again, I don't know, but it's a topic close to my heart and the resulting layout is a favourite of mine, so without further ado ...

ms & me
published in 'A challenging reality' by Jeni O'Connor
Scrapbook Creations No. 76 (Vol 9 No 1)
products used:
Prismatics cardstock; Scenic Route patterned paper - Cape Town Oswald Road Red, Sumner Cherry Avenue, Sumner Ryan Avenue; chipboard - ScrapFX large tree, Scrapware house, Maya Road birds of a feather, Collections hearts, Buzz 'n Bloom date, Scenic Route Everyday Moments; Li'l Davis Designs vintage wood shapes; Carolee's Creations Adornit Sleek Red alphas; dies - Cuttlebug You're Not the Boss of Me alphas, Sizzix Cloud #2; Radiant Rain dauber - Hot Cinnamon; Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist - Slate; ColorBox fluid chalk ink pad - Warm Red; Inkssentials Glossy Accents; Sharpie Ultra Fine Point black pen; green buttons, embroidery and machine cotton

This is the journaling I had written for the magazine as a bit of an 'intro' for my layout. I hope I eventually printed it and stuck it on the back ...

In 2001 approximately 15,000 Australians had MS. That year, the Australian population was estimated to be 19.6 million. I am one of those 15,000 Australians and this is my story.

The last few days in Melbourne have been hot and humid. That's bad news for me. I experience extreme heat intolerance. When my body heats up, my nerve pathways slow down. I slow down. Yesterday, I stubbornly struggled to complete the washing when I knew I should have rested. Today I am bedridden. It sounds simple ... cause and effect. But where in that equation is choice? As my MS progressed I lost the right to make choices about my life, choices I had previously taken for granted.

I have faced, and continue to face, constant change, loss of independence, and early retirement; daily injections, weight gain, chronic fatigue, heat intolerance, scrambled cognitive function, continence pads, depression, ongoing grief, anger, frustration, loneliness and social isolation. I do not know what I will have to face in the future. This is not the life I chose.

For me, no sugar coating it or putting on a brave, happy face, this is what it is like to live with MS. A daily, sometimes futile, and always unpredictable, struggle. A struggle I choose to fight. What choice really, do I have? For someone with an indomitable spirit, to 'surrender' is not an option.

By not surrendering to the boundaries of my MS, I have found new life paths to follow. Scrapbooking has been one of them, and one the MS Society recognised in 2006 by awarding me a scholarship to help me pursue my dreams. Dreams I have achieved. I have made many new friends, both with and without MS. Although I have been bedridden today, I do not have to worry about getting ready for work tomorrow. I have the flexibility of free time to focus on my health and fitness ... although not always with success. My husband and I are now building our dream home (with an enormous scrapping studio!), having sold our previous home when it became an unsuitable environment for me to live in. The question of whether to continue trying to have a family, or not, has been answered for me. I am now free to enjoy the benefits of being middle-aged without children. These are some of the aspects of my MS I have chosen to embrace.

Some say life is about choices, others say life is like a 'box of chocolates'; many believe our lives are predestined. Me? Given the choice, I know the life I would be living now ...

31st October 2009

"Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic often disabling disease that randomly attacks the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). The progress, severity and specific symptoms of the disease cannot be predicted; symptoms may range from tingling and numbness to paralysis and blindness. MS is a devastating disease because people live with its unpredictable physical and emotional effects for the rest of their lives."
~ MS Australia


  1. Alz I remember this one, it is a very moving and informative LO.Hugs xx

  2. Alz, this is an amazing layout, and your journalling is so very poignant. You speak for many people who suffer with MS. Love you girlfriend for your courage and constitution.