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Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Power of the Mind

Boy, has it been a while.

I have become acutely aware of the power of my mind recently. I suffered some rather serious cognitive issues during my recent relapses, which took a major toll on my blogging efforts. I decided that rather than submitting substandard blogs, I would take a short hiatus. During this period of recovery, I become rather acutely aware of the power of my mind to control my every move. I started to question myself. I started to wonder whether I had the ability to blog at all anymore, and whether I would ever be able to again. I spent months questioning my abilities, in fact. I became convinced that I would never be able to string 5 words together again, let alone compose a blog that would be of interest to my fellow MS sufferers.

Then, I started to realize that this is the monster. This is what it does. Right?

Isn't this exactly what this monster wants? To control us? To take away our power? To make us feel less than our real selves? To question our every move? To feel as though we will never be able to function like we used to? This is what MS is capable of doing, if we allow it to.

This period of recovery has been my longest, in my 8 years with this disease. I would be lying if I said it was easy. It was difficult, long and painful. I am climbing up out of my recent relapse still. I am determined. I am strong. I am not alone. I know you are all here with me, as you have always been, and I am strengthened by that knowledge. The one thing I always return to with this illness is that we are truly one, and we are never alone. If we can just recall that we are all in this battle together, we are able to fight this. Even on those lonely, dark days. Try to hold on. You will get through this, just like I did...I promise.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Lemtrada: A Personal Experience

I recently had the opportunity to interview Marie, an RRMS patient from Australia who opted to try Lemtrada after doing a great deal of research about her options. She is open and candid about her experience, and I am so grateful to her for sharing this information in such detail. Here is our interview. Thank you, Marie!

1. What made you choose Lemtrada?

After being diagnosed in March 2014 and overcoming the initial shock and grief, I commenced interferon beta 1a (Rebif). I researched my options extensively. All evidence was suggesting that a more aggressive treatment approach was best undertaken early in the disease course. I needed to have an effective treatment within what I saw as my window of opportunity, even if that meant taking on risks while I felt otherwise well. I was fully aware that the measures of disease activity currently used only look at the tip of the iceberg. There was no guarantee that I wasn't acquiring subclinical damage not measurable by current standards and that my reserve capacity wasn't being slowly destroyed behind the scenes.

HSCT (Hematopoetic Stem Cell Transplant) -- intensive chemotherapy followed by the infusion of the patient's own stem cells - is only in trial phase in Australia and I didn't meet the strict eligibility criteria. I could have elected to travel to receive this treatment overseas, but after two years of relative disease stability, I looked at other options that might be more appropriate for my disease status.

Lemtrada (Alemtuzumab) is an induction treatment that was listed on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme in Australia in April 2015. This means that the aim of the treatment is to produce an effect without ongoing lifelong maintenance. Whilst this was appealing to me, it was not the main factor in my decision. I wanted an effective treatment that offered the chance of long term remission. I also wanted to minimise brain atrophy, a factor not routinely measured but that is associated with long term disability outcomes. I considered the risks and felt that these were mitigated with close monitoring to allow timely and successful intervention if necessary.

I'd surrounded myself with a wonderful professional support team. My neurologist was initially apprehensive in prescribing such a treatment for me, but after careful consideration and after an MRI showed a new lesion in early 2016, he felt that this was a considered and reasonable treatment choice. I'd also consulted a haematologist when looking into HSCT and Lemtrada. Since both treatments have been used to treat haematological conditions for a long time, he provided valuable insight into the history and application of the treatments and was a key factor in my decision. The MS Society in my state has two wonderful and knowledgable nurses. I had a specific MS Infusion Nurse assigned to my treatment. My local General Practitioner was supportive and genuinely interested in my treatment.

2. What was the experience of the infusion like for you?

I received the treatment as an outpatient, where I attended the hospital day infusion ward for five days. I received IV methylprednisolone each day before the Lemtrada infusion. I was required to stay in the department for a two hour observation after the Lemtrada had finished each day. I felt confident in the abilities and experience of the doctors and nurses on the day infusion ward. I spent much of my time reading, watching a TV series and talking to my wonderful mother, best friend and brother and sister who all came to visit.

3. Was there anything unpleasant about the treatment?

I was fortunate in that I didn't experience the common infusion related side effects such as a rash, nausea or headache. I did however experience tachycardia, chest tightness and heart palpitations.

This was very disconcerting for both myself and my doctors. Testing ruled out any serious heart or lung abnormalities and it was thought likely that these symptoms were a direct but temporary reaction to the histamines released in response to the Lemtrada. Under close observation I completed the treatment course with no real issues.

4. How are you feeling now, after the treatment?

Right now I'm only two weeks post treatment. As the effect of the steroids wore off in the days immediately after, I felt very lethargic. But over the next week I regained this energy and I actually feel back to baseline. Fortunately I didn't go into the treatment with any significant disability, so I'm not looking for major symptom reversal. Stopping further progression of the disease is my primary goal.

Of course my immune system will remain suppressed for a while and I will need to be vigilant avoiding illness as best I can. This can be difficult with two young children, but I need to do my best to allow my body and immune system to recover.

5. What does the treatment plan consist of?

In March next year (12 months after my initial course) I'll have three more infusions over consecutive days again. Then if all goes as hoped, I won't require any further treatment and my ms will remain in remission! But if I do ever show new MRI or clinical activity, I can have subsequent infusions.

Importantly, I must have a monthly blood and urine test for the next five years (or four years after the last treatment course). This is essential to detect any secondary autoimmune diseases so that they can be treated early. The most common being thyroid disease (30%), ITP (2%) and Good Pastures (0.3%). The latter two are considered more serious, but are fortunately treatable if detected early.

So while I've had the treatment, it's important I remain vigilant with ongoing monitoring.

6. If there's anything else you can think of, or want to add, please feel free!

Some individuals liken treatments such as Lemtrada, which involve rapid and intensive suppression of the immune system, to 'using a sledgehammer to crack a nut'. They feel it produces unacceptable amounts of collateral damage. But how can a more specific approach be developed when we don't know the actual cause of the disease? What we do know is that ms is likely an autoimmune disease which involves the immune system mistakingly attacking myelin. Almost all licensed treatments (excluding Glatiramer Acetate) work by manipulating or suppressing the immune system. Lemtrada utilises this principle, albeit to a stronger degree.

MS is renowned for being unpredictable and unique to each individual. Consequently, what treatment option is suitable for one person may not be for another. Many elect to forgo all treatment and deal with consequences as they arise. Others prefer a more conservative approach using treatments that have a longer term safety profile. Then there are individuals like myself who are prepared to take on greater risk, but with potential greater reward.

Such a wide spectrum of disease severity also produces a huge variation in opinions in terms of treatment approaches even amongst neurologists. But since no one could tell me my prognosis, I felt it only fair that I have a say in what treatment I undertake. My neurologist guided and helped educate me on my options and ensured that I was fully aware of all risks associated with treatment.

I strongly believe that we are our own best advocate. No one is as invested in our own health as much as we are. Knowledge is power. Do as much research as you can and if you can't, surround yourself with people who care as much about your health and your treatment as you do.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Prepping For Summer: New Cooling Product!

I was recently approached by the creator of an amazing new cooling product that is both functional and fashionable, and with spring now here; I can't imagine a better time to share my new find! Sam White, creator of the Nano Ice cooling necklace, has invented a product that can be frozen and worn to assist MS patients with body temperature control on warm spring and summer days or during exercise. As we all know, heat can exacerbate MS symptoms, and simple cooling measures can save all of us a lot of discomfort. Unfortunately, many cooling vests can be bulky and uncomfortable, and the Nano Ice necklace is a wonderful way to achieve excellent temperature regulation without the bulk.  I received my necklace recently and I must say,  I am amazed at how effective it is without carrying the bulk of a cooling vest.  I think this is a great product, and I hope everyone has a wonderful spring and summer season. Please check it out, and stay cool! Here is the Info from the inventor, Sam White:

Let me share my short personal story. After many years living in India deploying a new cold-storage technology to enable dairy farmers to chill their milk at their villages without diesel generators (you can see more details in this TEDx) I recently moved back to Boston to get married. My wife started to get hot flashes during pregnancy so I adapted what I learned in India and invented a freezer-charged Cooling Necklace. It’s a way for you to cool the blood flowing through the arteries of your neck which provides remarable cooling effects for people who suffer from MS as you can see from the testimonial below.  More imporantly, I hired a designer so my wife would feel comfortable wearing a beautiful necklace in public while getting hours of cooling relief, and I sincerely hope you do too.  You can see more at www.nano-ice.com.

The Problem with heat and MS:           Overheating can cause MS systems to become exacerbated at any moment. The only alternative is a wet absorbent towel or a cumbersome cooling vest.

A Possible Solution:                               A fashionable way to cool you down is to provide constant cooling of the blood flowing to the brain via neck arteries using our beautifully designed Cooling Necklace.  This simple solution is a necklace filled with uniquely dense ice that is placed in a freezer and can then provide cooling relief for over 2 hours. 

Hear how Nano-Ice Cooling Necklace is providing relief from Diana’s heat-related MS symptoms:

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Roles We Play....

After a lengthy hiatus due to multiple relapses, I believe I found my voice again.

These past few months have brought challenges, physical and psychological. After more than 6 years with MS, I was convinced I had mastered the nature of my illness. I believed I could somehow predict what the monster would do next, its routines and habits. It was my own resident monster, after all.

I believed I had a firm grasp on it, that my medications were keeping things fairly stable and balanced. I was convinced that this would be the course of my illness, with long periods of relative normalcy in between relapses. The past 6 months have taught me otherwise.

I was met head-on by a speeding train, with multiple relapses, back-to-back. I was hit in the places I always counted on: My cognition, my reasoning, my intellect. I found myself struggling to put two words together, let alone blog and author books as I had in the previous year. My memory was horrendous, and I found myself misplacing objects, forgetting dates and appointments and becoming incredibly disorganized.

I felt utterly and completely out of control.

I began to play the role of the "sick person," which I despised. I threw myself completely into my new role, shuffling around the house with slippers and sweatpants; deciding not to even attempt to do my hair or put on make-up. Taking a shower was completely exhausting, and just the thought of it was too much at times. My husband launched himself into his new role of caregiver. He shouldered more responsibilities, took the kids away from the house so I could rest. He became an incredible support, but I felt guilty watching him take this on.

I have slowly returned to the living world, regaining small amounts of energy and cognitive power. I just recently realized that I had grown tired of my role, that I no longer wanted to play it. I wanted to return to my former self, and I had to make a conscious effort to do so. It would not happen without effort, and I was determined. These roles we play.....they are only in our minds. We may have physical and cognitive challenges with MS, but we do not need to be held prisoner by them. We always have the option to change our thought processes, to refuse to sink into the deep hole that is the "sick person" role. We are each so much more than our illness, and the goal is to always remember this. Remember who you were when you were well, before your diagnosis....and keep that person alive.

I looked in the mirror today, and I was shocked that I didn't look like the elderly, sick, hopeless person I felt I was. I still looked like me.

Monday, August 24, 2015

When the Hospital Sounds Like a Vacation

Parents with MS: Please tell me I am not insane.

During my last relapse, I experienced a very sudden and dramatic loss of vision in one eye, and I immediately went to the ER (my former workplace and my husband's current workplace.) I am very comfortable there after ten years as a nurse, and the staff are basically a second family to me. I am very fortunate to have them, and they always treat me like a queen when I have to visit.

They provide me with warm blankets, food, and the much needed care I require. My last relapse happened on a Friday, and the outpatient infusion center is closed on weekends. Normally, I receive my 3-day steroid infusions there, and stay at home rather than the hospital. This time, however, the weekend would prevent that. My Neurologist recommended admitting me to the hospital during the 3-day course of IV steroids. Most people would see this as a bad thing. Parents with MS- not so much. My mind immediately thought of what an amazing break this might be for me!

Three days of rest? Peace and quiet? Meals brought to me while I lounge in bed? Every need met for me, while I relaxed and recovered? That sounds like heaven. 

Parents with MS don't get any of those things at home. Children are demanding, regardless of my physical condition. They don't understand when my energy is low, and I am not myself due to a relapse. They still have needs, and my husband still has shifts to work, despite my illness. I knew in my heart I wouldn't get the much-needed rest I required at home, and I started to say "sounds great," when offered a hospital stay. Before I could get the words out, my husband and nursing friends began making special arrangements for me to receive my infusions in the ER, going home in-between, convinced that I would never want to stay in the hospital for 3 days. Who would? My heart sank. But, I felt too strange saying, "No! Let me stay in the hospital!"

At that point, I realized that I had really lost it.

I had fully transitioned from the competent healthcare provider to the exhausted, debilitated patient I had cared for so many times before. I was officially in need of the nurturing I had given for so many years. It would be one thing if I had a quiet, relaxing, peaceful home to return to to heal...but that was not the case for me. I had many little ones depending on me there, and this offered to time to recover and heal.

This is the predicament many parents with MS find themselves in. I am not alone in this experience, I am sure. We simply don't get the chance to heal and rest the way others might, and at this point I was feeling quite sorry for myself. As I returned home, I feared the worst. I feared that I would be overwhelmed with responsibilities and obligations, neglecting my own body and needs as always.

The lesson I learned at that moment was that I needed to be my own advocate. I needed to express my needs to my loved ones, to communicate what I was feeling more than ever. At times like this, I need to clearly state what I was and was not capable of doing, and give my family a chance to provide for me. The moment I spoke up and stopped pretending to be the "hero," the help was all around me. I had a neighbor offer to cook meals and watch my children. I had my mother who was immediately in my home, cleaning and picking up groceries. I had friends who offered to bring coffees, and a husband who spent his days off taking care of me. I was overwhelmed by the love and support I felt at that moment. I realized that I had made a mistake in the past, keeping my feelings locked inside and refusing to admit that I needed help. I needed to be honest, and I never needed to feel alone. I now know how fortunate I am to have so many in my life who care about me, and even the kids were happy to pick up a share of chores. The lesson is, don't ever feel guilty asking for help like I did. Don't keep your feelings inside, feeling frustrated and alone. Speak up, reach out, and ask for help. You may be pleasantly surprised at the love that surrounds you.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Underrepresented: Why is Disability Seldom Seen in the EntertainmentIndustry?

As I went through the journey of writing and publishing my book this year, I attempted to follow the traditional path. An author writes and completes the book, and then sets out to "query" literary agents for possible representation and publication. Traditional publishing is a very competitive industry, and most authors are rejected numerous times before landing an agent, and many experience rejection for their entire careers.

I met with my share of rejection letters, and many agents gave me the same explanation. "We love the book, but we don't feel that it is going to have a large enough audience to result in big sales."

This is the bottom line in publishing, and in most areas of media. Movie scripts and books are not going to succeed without the potential for huge profits, and the topics of MS and disability in general are not viewed as "marketable" currently. This fact doesn't sit well with me, and I have become determined to get the word out to the entertainment industry that disabled characters in film, TV, and books are underrepresented.

Can you recall the last time you went to a popular movie and saw a disabled main character? When is the last time you picked up a New York Times Best Seller that starred characters with disabilities? These characters pop up occasionally, but it is definitely a rare occurrence. Unfortunately, I believe that audiences don't want to see disabled characters, possibly because it is uncomfortable to cope with. The selection of popular, mainstream books and movies starring characters with MS is even more narrow. MS just does not seem to make an appearance in mainstream media, unless it is a celebrity memoir of some kind. I believe that we as MS patients can make an impact on this issue, by being very vocal about our objection to being excluded.

After all, we have incredible stories to tell. What is more interesting than the tale of an individual who overcomes incredible adversity? What story is more compelling than one of triumph over tragedy? In my six years with MS, I can recall dozens of incredible stories of true warriors, regular human beings who cope with superhuman challenges. Parents who drag themselves out of bed on a daily basis, just to care for little ones who depend on them, professionals who continue to strive for excellence despite their constant pain, and parents who struggle with their children's diagnosis of MS.

As consumers of mainstream media, (books, movies, TV) we should be demanding to see more characters struggling with and overcoming disabilities. The few stories that do seem to sneak into the public's eye are often met with amazing responses, as we often see in "viral" videos online. These compelling stories of hope and strength belong in the forefront of public media, and until we demand it, nothing will change. Wouldn't you like to see more characters you can relate to next time you head out to the movie theater?

Obviously, as MS patients, we have bigger issues to cope with than this one. However, I believe that increasing awareness includes advocating for better representation in media. The spread of information in our society flows most rapidly with mass media, and this is a great place to focus attention on our illness. Still considered rare, with an incidence of 1 in 1000 in the US, MS is still very poorly understood by most people. Increasing the availability of movies, TV, and books related to MS and disability in general would be a great place to start educating the public.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Guest Blog: How to Choose a Great Neurologist!

I was recently contacted by an organization which aims to connect neurological patients with local neurologists, helps with choosing treatments, and even provides a health "concierge" service. www.utilizehealth.co is an amazing resource for any MS patient who struggles with finding a competent provider in the local area, or who might need assistance with basic medical issues such as appointment scheduling, billing, and even transportation to appointments. It is free to register with the site and find local providers, and there is a subscription option for those who would like to take advantage of the health concierge service. Please check out the guest blog below, written by one of the patient advocates from utilizehealth, Carrie. This is a post aimed at choosing the right neurologist.

Tips for Choosing a Neurologist
By Carrie Redmon

Whether you have been recently diagnosed with MS or have been dealing with the nuances of MS for quite some time, consider these tips and questions when choosing a neurologist or when considering switching to a different neurologist.

Consider reaching out to any friends of yours who may also have MS or who you have possibly met through a support group or community forum.  Ask them who they see.  Chances are someone in your network of friends already has some suggestions for who may be best suited in your area.
Consider a neurologist who specifically treats those with MS.  As I’m sure many of you know, neurologists can treat a variety of conditions only one which happens to be MS.  But there are a select few who are specifically knowledgeable of all things MS.  Even though you may not find one in your town, chances are there is one within driving distance of your home.
Ask your insurance provider for a list of neurologists in your network.
Once you have narrowed down a list of potential candidates begin researching them.  Research their credentials, reviews written by other patients, their gender, and research the current practice they work for or hospital system.  Does it have good reviews and/or patient satisfaction scores?
As always it’s good to evaluate their communication style as well.  Will your personalities click?  Or will you find yourself struggling to relate to their style of communication?

Keep in mind this decision is YOUR DECISION.  Getting a second opinion is never a bad idea when making difficult decisions that affect your treatment plan.  Always trust your instincts!

Carrie Redmon is a Patient Advocate with Utilize Health.  Utilize Health, a healthcare company that helps patients with neurological conditions locate and engage with rehabilitation facilities, offers a free web platform that matches patients to facilities based on their needs and preferences.  For more information about their services or to register for FREE visit www.utilizehealth.co.  

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Fate, Destiny and Hope

How can we ever predict the future? How would we ever know what will happen tomorrow, and whether that something will be positive or negative?

The interesting thing about labeling things "good," or "bad," is that these are our own interpretations of events. There is no way to determine what the outcome of our experiences might be. Our only option is to truly wait and see, living only in the moment, and not a second after.

As a child, I was convinced that I was destined to become a famous Broadway actress. I loved to act, sing and dance, performing in numerous community theatre productions. I had big dreams, and no one was going to steer me away from them. Being on a stage made me feel a way I had never felt before, and I recall looking out into those glaring stage lights that hid the audience from view, belting out songs I would have been far too shy to sing to my own family in a small room.

Life has a tendency to steer us in directions we may not have imagined. The best written plans typically fall away, evolving into forgotten memories, as we march along our paths.

Recently, during a chat with my mom, she made a very interesting comment on my life. "All those years of wanting to achieve something great, and of all things, MS is what made that happen." I took a moment and really let that statement sink in, and I slowly realized that my greatest impact on the world might indeed be a result of multiple sclerosis. Who would have ever imagined that on my day of diagnosis? The day that life felt as though it had come to an end, that there was no hope, and all was lost. At that moment, my diagnosis was definitely the lowest point in my life, the biggest "bad" event I had ever experienced.

Looking back, however; it has led me to incredible places, and allowed me to connect with some of the most inspiring, caring people throughout the world. It has allowed me to pursue my old passion of writing, allowed me to slow my professional medical career and spend more time with my children and husband. It has given me strength and perseverance, tested my resolve, and shown me that I am not a weak minded person. It has challenged me physically, but strengthened me psychologically. I no longer question whether I am loved, or whether those who truly care about me will stick by my side in tough times.

I received a beautiful comment on my previous blog, from a reader in Australia just before writing this. She told me that she is a mother who was recently diagnosed, and that my writing has helped her cope with her illness. Being able to reach out across continents virtually, and make even the slightest difference in the life of another mother with MS is such a gift. How can I possibly feel cheated? How can I possibly label this diagnosis entirely "bad?"

The lesson for me is, don't assume that everything that initially appears negative actually is. Life has an amazing way of teaching endless lessons, and though we may not always be in the mood to learn them at the moment, we may eventually look back and think:

"Now I understand."

Thursday, July 9, 2015

When I "Overdose" on MS.....

The past year has been a whirlwind for me.

I started this blog in September of 2014, and in the past 10 months, I have written 70 of my own personal blogs, dozens of blogs for my fellow MS bloggers and websites, and written/published a full length non-fiction self-help book on the topic of MS. During this period of time, I met dozens of my fellow MSers around the world, created amazing contacts, and connected with so many incredible people. I was driven, motivated, and full of energy, with a goal of spreading awareness about this life-altering illness.

Recently, I have hit a bit of a slump.

I suddenly felt exhausted, overwhelmed by the topic of MS. I realized that my entire existence for almost a year had become this disease, both the physical challenges of it, as well as the constant thought and writing time devoted to the experience of the illness. I hit a wall, and realized that I had in a sense, "overdosed" on the topic.

For a few weeks, I could no longer think about it. I ran from it, stopped writing blogs, stopped even considering it. I had to avoid social media for a bit, because almost every site I visited was full of MS related information, articles, photos, and postings. These things I had so enjoyed became almost gut-wreching to look at, and I realized I needed a short break. This is a phenomenon we all likely experience, and we should pay attention to it. Sometimes, we just want to escape the awareness of the illness.

Denial comes in many forms, and it is indeed a defense mechanism that we develop to protect our minds from damaging and destructive information and thoughts. Every now and then, we simply want to feel "normal." We want to forget that we carry this burden, this incurable illness that never goes away. I believe, after experiencing this recent slump, that it is important for us to continue to live as normal a life as possible.

It is fine to spend time learning, connecting, and educating ourselves and others, but now and then, we simply need to be ourselves. The old self we used to be before our diagnosis, that long-forgotten human being that we sometimes ignore. That old healthy self that we used to identify with is still hidden beneath the surface, and now and then, we should let that old identity come up and breathe for a while.

We live a bit of a dual identity with MS, and that is normal and healthy. Though MS is a major part of our lives, we are still "us." We are still much more than our disease, and we should never forget who we truly are, aside from our illness. If you begin to feel overwhelmed by the thought of MS, take a break. Take a rest, avoid the topic for a while, and come back when you feel you are ready. Though the availability of social media sites and online articles is endless, you don't necessarily need to spend every moment obsessing about the information. Take it in doses, and try to remember that you are still a valuable, contributing human being, aside from your diagnosis.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Men in My Life.....

This Father's Day is a wonderful chance for me to recall the amazing men in my own family, and thank them for being a part of my life.

My father was a career middle school teacher, and we all know what a tough job that can be. He spent many years coping with a highly stressful environment, but all the while, held on to the hope that he was making a difference in the lives of these young people. Middle school can be one of the toughest ages to teach, and he did it with grace and patience. We spent our summers together every year of my childhood, and I have memories of pools and beaches, smoothies for breakfast, and quiet reading time together. He taught me the importance of self awareness, analyzing my own thoughts and feelings, and journaling. He supported me in everything I chose to pursue, and these memories will last in my mind forever.

Thank you, Dad. 

My grandfathers, Stan and Jack, were also incredible examples of what fathers should be. They raised large families, supported many children, and stood by their families no matter how hard life became. My grandfather Stan cared for my grandmother (who had MS,) for decades, along with his children. Grandpa Jack is still alive today, aged 97. He now lives with my father, who is caring for him daily. The examples of love and caring that were set so many years ago continue to this day.

Grandpa Stan and Grandma Bette,
Grandpa Jack and Grandma Mary Jane,

Thank you, Grandpa Jack and Grandpa Stan.

Lastly, I have to thank my absolutely superhuman husband, Wayne. My husband is a man that amazes me on a daily basis. This man has put the needs of just about everyone he meets above his own, and continues to do so on a daily basis. He is my partner in raising our huge family of six children, and our children are very lucky to have him. He works in an extremely stressful career, full time as an Emergency physician, in addition to the large workload here at home. He never fails me, he never wavers in his strength. It is awe inspiring to watch. I always tell him, I have no idea how I got so lucky, and I will spend every day of my life being thankful that I have this man in my life. He is my partner, my rock, my love.

Thank you, honey! I love you....

Thank you to all of the fathers out there....you are truly shaping the lives of your children each day. 

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