Point No Point Adventure

Even in the winter we have to hit the beach.

Looking through our adventures you would think I have a thing for lighthouses. I do not, they just happen to be at beaches.

Hansville, Washington is home to Point No Point.

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I love to having access to rad beaches so close to home. We don’t have to pack or plan anything, so I don’t feel as bad when I’m tired and am ready to head out.

We usually just walk along the beach and watch the waves roll in. Tucker loves to fill his pockets with treasures. That just happens to be rocks the size of baseballs.

 

Wood stairs going up through the woods

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. ~Lao-Tzu

Point No Point has a tall staircase that leads into a beautiful wooded area and a lookout over the water. It’s hard to convey just how daunting a simple staircase can be. I managed to slowly climb it with three stops for rest. You just have to keep moving forward.

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Photo: Meghann Prouse Indie Photographer

-wheels

What are you waiting for?

You may have picked up on this, but I have Multiple Sclerosis. If I were standing there without my cane you may never know. When I do have my cane people think “this dude probably hurt his leg skating or snowboarding!”. I wish that was the case.

MS is all about the lesions. A lot of people with MS only get a lesion or two and progress very slowly. I am not that lucky. I continue to get new lesions year after year. My first set of MRIs found 10+ lesions on the spinal cord and a few scattered through my brain. That was just the beginning.

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I have a hard time when things feel like they are somewhat stable for a few months, yet in reality the lesions continue to progress. Currently my brain and spinal cord are active. These lesions effect things like cognition, spacial awareness, sensory nerves and muscle strength. It is tough to see the cognitive changes when you rely on the brain to tell you whats wrong.

The numbness is the worst on the left side, but the right is no picnic. It’s really is weird not being able to tell if your arm has made it into the shirt you are putting on.

I continue to take my injections to hopefully slow to progression but there is no way to know how well it is doing that, if at all. As I transition from Relapsing Remitting MS into Secondary Progressive MS, things slowly slip away. I wonder how much is left.

Nobody is guaranteed tomorrow. What are you waiting for?

 

What makes you happy?

What is your dream?

What are you waiting for?

 

 

 

Canes for a Cure || Top & Derby

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Canes for a cure

I have been using the same $15 cane I bought 4 years ago when my MS first started slowing me down. I wanted to make it fit my style so I plastered it with stickers. The grip is completely gone and the tip has no traction. As terrible as this cane is, it has helped me a lot over the years but now it’s time for an upgrade.

The search for a new cane is frustrating. Everything seems to be designed solely for function. I thought it was weird there’s not much out there designed for a 30 year old dude with tattoos and piercings. The search led me to a group of rad dudes who built the Chatfield cane. Reading through the features it was clear this was the cane I was looking for. The shaft is solid Walnut and the tip, or “shoe” as they call it, is inspired by a skate shoe. Yup, you read that right, skate shoe inspired. I think I found my Excaliber.

The grip on my old, cheaply assembled Walmart cane completely peeled off years ago, leaving an uncomfortable plastic handle. Getting around with a wobbly, unstable cane is a task in itself. The Chatfield from Top and Derby blows the shoddy aluminum tube of a cane out of the water. The handle on the Chatfield just feels right. The girth (heh, girth) of the handle fits my hand perfectly. And I don’t talk about girth in my hand very often. The grip and stability of the shoe inspired tip has been noticeably helpful.

Top and Derby have integrity. They care about the people that they are helping, they are hip and stylish, and they’re using their platform to spread awareness about things that really matter. Their Enable Initiative proves their dedication; with March being MS awareness month they created 200 limited edition Chatfield canes decked out with Pantone (158) orange handles and shoes and custom laser engraving. For every one of the 200 made, they are donating the proceeds directly to the MS Societies of Canada and the US. I’m honored they sent me one of these beauties.

In my teens I spent my time skating and riding BMX through skate parks just like this one. I’m the same rad dude; just because I can’t shred the half-pipe doesn’t mean I’m not shredding gnar through life. And after 4 years with a $15 cane I realize that it’s more than an assistive device; it’s the face of my MS. The Chatfield is a cane I’m proud to have people stare at. Go ahead, ask me about my cane.

This ain’t your grandfather’s cane.

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You can purchase the Cane for a Cure at TopandDerby.com

All of these rad photos were taken by Meghann Prouse Indie Photographer.

Through my eyes

– Optic Neuritis –

For a lot of people Optic Neuritis is their intro to MS.  Eye pain, loss of color and blurry vision.  What happens is the Optic Nerve gets inflamed, and the inflammation prevents the nerves from transmitting the visual information to the brain.  The closest thing I have found to describe it is that feeling after you look directly into a bright light or camera flash.

An example of vision with Optic Neuritis, a vision impairment common among patients with Multiple Sclerosis.

 

The image of the deer is pretty close to what my left eye does.  It’s something that’s always there, although the severity goes up and down. I have almost gotten used to it at this point. I do however clean my glasses a ton thinking my lens is smudged. Sometimes I end up focusing on the “smudge” so intently, that I suddenly realize people think I’m staring at them. Awwwkward…

Are you having eye issues? The good news is, if you have some symptoms of ON you can get it checked out at your regular ol’ eye doctor. No need for a Neurologist, Specialist or Ocular Shaman.

This could be classified as a symptom of MS that you can actually see. Well, at least, the person who has it can see it.  Did I just write a MS joke?  It needs some work, but it’s a start.

.-wheels

Photos by Meghann Prouse Indie Photographer 

 

 

Pins and Needles, and Needles

There are many different DMTs (Disease Modifying Therapies) for Multiple Sclerosis. I am currently on one that I inject 3 times a week, much better than the daily version I was previously on. The injection is subcutaneous, meaning I inject it just under the skin, similar to a diabetic injecting insulin. Not bad when you compare it to the first meds I was on that had to be injected weekly into the muscle (Intramuscular).

I inject myself in the hopes that it will slow the progression of my MS. Even though I take my medication I still gain new lesions. It’s tough to say how many more I would get without it.

My talented wife has asked to document my journey with MS. Together we will be sharing our ups and downs along the way. It was only fitting to start with my injections. So I sat on the couch; sweat pants, belly rolls and all.

If seeing needles are not your thing, feel free to close this window.

This is my life with MS.

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All of the beautiful images were taken Meghann Prouse Indie Photographer. Check this rad chick out at www.photomegs.com

-kp

I love you Red

We don’t celebrate much of anything in a traditional fashion. Valentines Day is no different.   I guess we’re cool like that?

It’s the day before Valentines Day and I didn’t buy my wife a thing, no card, no chocolate and no flowers. It’s all about what you do the rest of the 364 days.

 

To My Best Friend:

I just want to say I Love You to my best friend. You have always been there for me. When things got hard you stepped up, when they got harder, you kicked its ass. No matter what MS has thrown at us you have been my rock.

I knew early on that I loved you. How early? In the first week of knowing you I looked over at you and said “You know how I know I love you?” . As embarrassing as it was, I knew it was true. We jump into everything head first together. When you know, you know.

I couldn’t wait to marry you. I had to make sure you couldn’t back out of the wedding, so, I knocked you up. Still one of the best decisions I have ever made. I always knew everything would be ok.

Thank you for helping me raise the raddest, smartest, weirdo out of the box kid we could.

How crazy is it the 8 years have gone by? I am excited for 8 more, but only 8 more after that I’m probably good.  (I also I love that you get my humor)

I can’t wait for all the adventure to come.

You are my favorite!

I Love You Red!

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-wheels

 

 

The Girl with the Purple Cane

Meet Liz Jackson. She is an amazing person who has a neurological disability similar to MS. Liz lives in NYC and is breaking down the stigma of using assistive devices. She rocks a cane and rides a bike. She is The Girl with the Purple Cane.

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Photo:Hanna Agar

 

I found her when I was learning about this rad company named Top & Derby who make kick ass canes. She was on the front page sitting on a bench with her T&D cane.

Not long after seeing her Forrest Gump inspired photo I decided to reach out to Liz and say “Lets be friends”. I put it all out there, and her reply mirrored my excitement. Since then we have talked non-stop.

I have learned so much about her already. One thing that was clear from the very first email was her passion. Liz puts her heart into everything she does. She started a grassroots movement to breakdown the stigma of assistive devices.

#YesJCrewCane is her way of doing just that. Liz is working very hard to get mainstream retailers like J. Crew to sell canes. They already sell some assistive devices but not others. Did you know that glasses are an assistive device? Let’s make canes cool too.

Please support the movement of inclusion. Go to Change.org and sign the #YesJCrewCane petition, it only takes a moment.

Follow Liz through this journey at TheGirlWithThePurpleCane.com

Making friends like Liz is whats it’s all about. So many great things to come!

-Wheels

 

Trek to Cape Flattery

We had a free weekend last summer and we decided to make the trek to Cape Flattery Washington. You can’t get anymore Northwest in the lower 48 than Cape Flattery.

The drive up there is beautiful. Minus the super windy road that made the dog upchuck. Still worth it.

So many cool spots to hit on the way there. This spot is right before mile marker 40 on Hwy 112. The Straight of Juan De Fuca Hwy is one of the most beautiful drives in Washington State.

 

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Pulled off in downtown Neah Bay. Almost to Capy Flattery

You need to stop at the local store to pick up a Makah Recreation Pass so you can park at the Cape Flattery Trailhead.  It only sets you back ten bucks and is good for a year.

BOOM! Cape Flattery.

The trail down to the lookout is well maintained. There were plenty of places to sit and have a rest along the way. Not a bad trail with a cane or walking stick.

Motion in the ocean.

On the way home we looked for a sweet place to catch the sunset. Pillar Point Recreation Area was perfect.

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Getting our nerd on.

 

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“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide

The long day was well worth the good times and the great views.

Load up your favorite playlist and hit the road.

 

Rad Short Films from Shift.ms

A few years ago the awesome people over at Shift.ms put together a couple of really amazing short films about life with MS.  These are some of my favorite videos related to the struggles of MS. It can be hard to explain MS, how it feels or even the fears that come with not knowing what’s next. Shift.ms really nailed it. The production is amazing; from the cinematography to the sound design and music.

 

‘Circle of Truth’, directed by David Allain and written by Matthew Edmonds, explores some of the challenges that people with MS face when deciding whether or not to disclose their diagnosis to their colleagues.

 

 

‘Gallop’ was created to help better convey the impact of a diagnosis with MS, the most common neurological condition affecting young adults. It uses narrative to explore the life-changing event of diagnosis through a compelling love story rather than solely focusing on the disease.

 

Learn more about Shift.ms