National Caregiver Month

With November being National Caregiver Month, I wanted to say thank you to everyone out there helping people like me. I especially want to thank my wife Meg for the unwavering support. I can’t imagine this journey without you!

While all caregivers may do similar tasks, what they mean to the people they care for is very personal. So I wanted to share not only a glimpse of what caregivers do, but what mine means to me. 

Having someone to help you with things (and admitting you need the help), is tough at first. In the beginning, I felt totally helpless. I’ve learned that it’s actually quite the opposite, though. I’ve had help with everything from driving, buttoning my shirt and pants, to even getting helped into the bathroom. Helping with my meds meant giving me an intramuscular injection that would wipe me out for the next 36 hours. I am not sure what was harder, doing it myself or watching her do it. Either way she stuck me like a champ! At least until the blood squirting episode…

At first there was a lot of resentment about all the things I couldn’t do for myself. I have regained some things and lost others over the years, but help is there. With time embarrassment has turned in to humbleness. I still struggle with asking for help, but having a person who puts up with my bullshit and is still ride or die, means the world. I can no longer measure my worth off of the activities I can or cannot do. Because of this my compassion for others has grown immensely. 

Meg and I have gone through a lot together, and I’m so thankful that this crazy MS adventure has only made us stronger. 

Wheels and Red National Caregiver Month multiple sclerosis

Thanks to all who support others through our toughest times.

 

P.S. My caregiver is also the best Copy Editor.

 

Adventure: Orcas Isalnd

Meg was lucky enough to score another assisting gig up in the San Juan Islands, and this time there was enough time and space for me and Tuck to tag along (thanks to Catherine and Michael Abegg for giving us the room to stay in!). The weekend was absolutely amazing, even though I managed to sprain my foot just mere hours before our ferry home. Hey, at least it was after all the fun stuff, right?

Wheels and Red getting on Anacortes ferry to san juans. Multiple Sclerosis

Anacortes WA, Ferry Terminal

Wheels and red driving around orcas Island WA

driving to rosario resort on orcas island WA

The roads though the island felt so magical.

Wheels and red disabled adventure at rosario resort Orcas island WA

The first night at the resort did not disappoint. Meg had to work the next day so we spent the evening checking out Rosario.

Disabled adventurers on orcas island wheels and red

 

Brown Bear Baking making delicious treats for wheels and red.

The line out the door of Brown Bear Baking says it all. They make straight magic back there.

Wheels and red at the eastsound farmers market

Lunch wasn’t far behind. Wood fired pizza, no contest.

Rosario resort marina Orcas Island WA

While Meg worked, Tucker and I spent the day checking out the resort. This was the spot to watch the sea-planes come in.

Artsy peep hole shot? Why not.

On Sunday we had the entire day to explore the island. We started with Moran State Park.

I love that these guys are down for whatever. Great co-pilots!

The old fire watch tower at the top of Mount Constitution. The best part of it is you can drive all the way to the top. A big plus for the mobility impaired like myself.

Bullet hole from the historic San Juan Island gang wars. Kidding.

wheels and red at Doe bay Orcas Island washington

When you’re in the San Juan Islands you can feel how special of a place it is. I know we are all excited to get back up there for even more adventuring. But for now, I’ll admit I missed the comfort of my own bed.

Beach with the pups

The pups and I headed down to our neighborhood beach front the other day and had some fun playing fetch. Mollie is all about that water…as long as it ain’t in a bathtub.border collie and Boston Terrier sitting on PNW beach

When i’m at the beach I can’t help but look around for some treasure. All I found was a blue hardhat and a non working flashlight. Not too shabby.

They have been updating and replacing the docks at the Brownsville Marina for the last few months so I’m guessing the hardhat and light are from there. Not a typical beach find but hey i’ll take it!

Them views.

I spotted this little guy when I was packing up to leave. I did have to poke it…for science. It was indeed dead. All in all a pretty sweet trip to the beach.

Knowledge Is Power

It’s finally here!!

In March we flew down to LA to be a part of a really cool project called Knowledge Is Power. It’s a 9 part video series that’s meant to help people who are newly diagnosed with MS find some answers.

We had an awesome time shooting these videos and we made a ton of rad new friends. You can check out the post Trek To Cali to see photos from our trip.

A huge thanks to all the great people it took to make these videos.

Check out Wheels & Red in the first 9 videos

Learning to fly

I’m fighting a wicked battle of blogger’s block, so forgive me for slacking off recently. Can I claim procrastination as an MS symptom?! Life has been full to the brim; full of awesome things…and a few not so awesome things. The awesomest of all, Meg left her job at mywedding.com! It’s been a long time coming, but she can now focus on her photography full time. Since then this house has been so full of laughter and creativity. Just the way we like it.

On the other end of the awesome scale, there was a septic backup *and* my first root canal on the same day. Yeah, real fun. Those weren’t so bad as when the gravity of my first Tysabri infusion finally sank in. The infusion itself wasn’t that bad, but the allergic reaction I had made for a pretty stressful experience. Mixing my allergic reaction with the risk of getting an incurable brain infection made me reconsider whether this is something I truly want to do. And for now at least, it’s not. I have decided not to continue treatment. After digging into the research, I’m not satisfied with the numbers; so I’m not accepting the risk for big pharma. This means that for the first time since my diagnosis I will be off all disease modifying therapies for MS. Not to worry though, because I live a healthier life than ever before. Plus, I have all I need: the support of my best friend.

When I step back and look at the big picture, I love where I’m at. So many things that once started out shitty ended up leading to pretty awesome things. So for now we are letting go of the norm and learning to fly. Life is good.

FUCK IT, BE FREE (NSFW)

If I cannot physically do what society deems “MANLY” does that make me less of a man?

It was Fathers Day and Solstice; Meg and I were getting out of the shower and the sun was pouring in through the skylight. I saw that creative spark in her eyes when she asked if she could take some photos of me. With her help I have come to love myself for who I am, so I didn’t even hesitate to say yes. Getting to see my body through Meg’s creative eye is very special to me.

I have struggled with body image for a long time but I think it’s time to finally let it go. Just because I can’t drink beer and lift heavy things does not make me less than. Empowerment projects do a wonderful job of helping people from all walks of life learn to love themselves; but I feel like there needs to be a bigger emphasis on helping disabled people learn to love the parts that are so often seen as “broken”. I don’t want people to look at these photos and see me; I want them to look at these photos and see them. To see that this body image struggle is the same,  no matter if you’re disabled, healthy, or anywhere in between. We are the same. And we have nothing to be ashamed of.

The entire set of photos includes nudity, so if you’re not into it please do not click through.

IMG_4259 IMG_4265IMG_4263

Photos By Meghann Prouse Indie Photographer

Warning Images Contain nudity…of me.

SEE THE ENTIRE SET HERE

 

Put your email in the box on the side and never miss a post again!

 

@prouska disabled with Multiple sclerosis on dock PNW

Afternoon at Sandy Beach

When the tide is out at Illahee State Park you can head south down the beach and find a hidden gem called Sandy Beach. Sandy Like the name says it’s sandy, very sandy. Stuff like this being 5 minutes from our house is exactly why I love the PNW.

@prouska disabled with Multiple sclerosis on dock PNWThis was the spot to jump off the pier back in the day. I could’ve sworn it was a 40′ drop…

 

At 7 years old Tucker is all about climbing trees. This place has a bunch of rad fallen trees to climb.
Washington ferry passing illahee state parkPerfect spot to watch the Ferry chug by.

Wheels & Red sitting on beach

This was a perfect way to spend the evening. The wind was whipping the warm air off the water.

meg_sandyB 

The trip was awesome even though I had Tucker jump from one log to another and he slipped and got some barnacle bun on his shin. You don’t have to travel far to find adventure, it’s in your back yard.

-wheels

 

Wheels and red ampersand tattoo

YOU & ME

In 2006 I was working as a sous chef in a local fish house. The Chef and I were really good friends, we spent most of our time drinking and playing video games. I started to see less of him when he started dating a Chiropractor. I didn’t mind so much since I was the boss when he was gone.

The Chef came up to me one day and said “I found the girl you’re in a marry”, I was definitely curious. She was the office manager at the Chiropractors. He couldn’t wait, so we hatched a recon mission right then. On our break we would hit the store to pick up a card and chocolate and then stop in at the office to see his lady. While we were there I would just nonchalantly  check out this hottie office manager.

I wasn’t nervous until we pulled in, I had no idea what we were walking into.  the first thing I saw when I walked into the office was a gorgeous redhead. She was obviously annoyed to have another guy in distracting the doctor. With her being so busy and her glasses on her head she hardly even noticed I was there. But I noticed her. After we left I found out she didn’t see me, I was huddled in the corner a bit. I later found out she wasn’t looking to see anyone but with a little convincing the Chiropractor was able to give me her number.

We met the first time for coffee. I was so nervous I went to the bar across the street and pounded a couple Irish Car Bombs first. Our coffee date was great, she choked on whip cream and nearly slipped and I was drunk. Meg thought I wasn’t into her but the truth is I was trying to hold my sloppy ass together. We both had enough fun to go out again and within 2 weeks we were dating.

We were married a little over a year later, May 19th 2007. We just celebrated our 8 year wedding anniversary and couldn’t be happier. We have been through a lot together but it has always been together.

Our close friend offered to do our dorky matching anniversary tattoos. We will always be Wheels & Red… Kel & Meg… You & Me. Happy Anniversary, you’re my favorite.

yeahrockout getting ampersand tattoo at woodwork tattoo poulsbo waWheels and red ampersand tattoo

Wheels and red breakfast in the van

Our friend Sammy


We had our friend Sammy stay with us for just over a week. Sammy is an amazing dude living the #vanlife. While he was here he jumped at every opportunity to help out, the guy even mowed my yard with a broken foot. He stays in his ’78 Econoline Camper with Silas the cat, traveling around creating and helping people. He is an all around badass.

We all learned from Sammy while he was here. Tucker even scored his first big kid skateboard. Having rad creative people coming through the house is what makes unschooling so special.

Family sitting around fire in the PNW

Sammy gave Tucker his phone and told him to get a pic from up in the apple tree. Instant cool points.

PNW fire pit multiple sclerosis

Sammy was kind enough to make us breakfast in the van one morning. Check out Meg’s 5 minute project to see our breakfast adventure.

5 minutes at 11 o’clock // April

Wheels and red breakfast in the van

Having a solid base of friends and family has made all the difference. We all have struggles but we don’t have to face them alone.

Wheels and Red with friends

-wheels