Sunday, January 30, 2011


               The pre op physio appointment. Tney did some tests to see what dad could do before the surgery.

                                        Opps. Got a little burnt the first day in the sun

                                            In the hospital before the surgery with our new friends

                                                                   Waiting to be admitted

           The meeting with one of the doctors before the surgery. They all took lots of time asking questions and answering our questions

                                                 Putting in the intervenous before the surgery.

                         After the surgery. Dada was feeling great.

                 First thing the next morning dad needed to get up and go see if he could find someone to dance with. He found Jocelyne. She was game and they did a little 2 step.

   Little did we know that we would be giving blood thinner needles twice a day once we got back to the hotel.

                                First day of real physio. 10 minutes on the bike to start off with.

 The physio people are great. They worked dads legs to show him the excersises that would help to strengthen them so he will walk better.

I have been printing out well  wishes and notes that people have been sending to dad out. If you want to let him know you are thinking of him, send me a comment or an e-mail and I will be sure to get it to him.

Friday, January 28, 2011


After leaving the hospital on Thursday everyone in our group was very tired. It was a long couple of days and you could see it in the faces of the people who had just had surgery.

I haven't talked about our "group". We have been with a group of 4 other families that arrived the same day and also had the surgery the same day as dad. There is Heather from Calgary with her friends Vern and Dawn from B.C. Jocelyn with her husband Dennis from Ottawa. Gail and her husband Glen from Nova Scotia. Henry and Andrea not sure where they are from . We also met a new couple from Boisseveine today, Murray and his wife (?).

We think we have the best group here. Because of being the situation that it is, we have formed a special bond with these other people. We have been together from the first meeting with the hospital and have followed through with all the dr. appointments and physio and because we are all in the same hotel we get together during the day to compare how we are getting along. It has been a life saver to be able to talk to these other people.

Dean is well know as the guy to call if anyone needs to be lifted into a van or helped in any way really. These bunch of people are amazing.

One other thing that we didn't know we would have to do, is give dad his blood thinner injection twice a day. They discharged us all from the hospital on Thursday, handed us all a bag of needles and said we were to give them twice every day. As if this was the most normal thing in the world for us to do. We all kind of looked at them like, what??? They showed us once how to do it and off we went. So, now we give needles....

So back to getting "home" from the hospital. It was a very long afternoon. Dad felt very weak. He didn't feel or look nearly as good as immediatly following the surgery. It felt a bit discouraging as he felt so great at the hospital. He basically lay in bed all afternoon and we had a bit of a rough night. None of us really slept all night

But today, things feel much better. His energy is back, he didn't have a headace which is very nice to see. His balance came back throughout the day and things are feeling much better. Now to get through tonight. I think we have things set up so it will be easier for everyone.

I am still trying to upload pictures. Blogger doesn't seem to be working well right now. I will try again tomorrow.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

and he danced...

(I will try to upload a video and pictures tomorrow. Today it is not working)

Morning after the surgery. Dad wanted to dance. We walked over to our friends room who also had the surgery yesterday and they had a fun time showing off how great they felt.
Very fun!

We all got discharged from the hospital at 3pm and everyone was feeling ready to go to their rooms and rest. It has been a big last few days. But I think you would get an overall feeling of happiness amongst the group. Even though there were no huge miracles, everyone felt some differnces in how they felt. Now the hard work of Physio is yet to come. Tomorrow dad has 2 appointments with the physiotherapist.

Dad has another 12 days of pysio left. Every day will be tonnes of hard work. Please keep him in your thoughts as this is the tough part.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

All is well

Dad just came up from recovery (8pm). ALL IS GREAT!! He said he feels like dancing(might be the drugs talking)LOL. But he looks great, sounds great and is VERY happy.  I will try to post some pictures tomorrow. But just wanted to let everyone know that your prayers have been heard and we are very happy her is Costa Rica

surgery day!!

We are waiting to be picked up by the taxi and brought to the hospital. The procedure will only take place around 4 to 5 pm tonight. It will be a lot of waiting around while he fasts during the day. The procedure will take from 45 min. to 2 hours depending on what they find. Then an hour in recovery and back up to his room where he will have to lie flat for 8 hours to prevent complications in the insition by his groin. Tomorrow we will know more. For now I have to get down to the van.

Monday, January 24, 2011

First day of appointments

It is hard to believe that I have not had time to write in the blog, but time just gets away from us and suddenly it is late and the day is done.

We arrived in Costa Rica on Sat around 7pm or so. There was suppposed to be a driver waiting for us. We looked and waited and got others to help us. We finally decided that it was time to get ourselves to the hotel. Dean spotted another group of people who looked in the same boat as we and found they were also waiting for a ride to the same hotel. So we all got in a van together.

The hotel is quite nice. It has a resteraunt, a pool and a small bar. After getting dad setttled into the room, Dean and I took a walk to see about getting a small dinner together. The hotel restaraunt is quite expensive and we really didn't need much. We walked up to a small 7-11 type place and bought some bread, ham and drinks.

Sunday morning we all felt much better. We were rested and with the sun shining, it felt great to walk over to the buffet and grab a wonerful breakfsast. We then gave dad's friend Robert a call and he came to pick us up. We spent the day at Robert and Zeda's house. Zeda made us an amazing dinner of BBQ ribs, shrimp shish-ka-bobs and Chillean wine. They live in a small subburb and so we had a wonderful relaxing afternoon. Robert also took us for a drive around to show us some property they are developing.

This morning (monday) we had breakfast and headed over for dad's firt appointment. It was a pre-op appointment where he got an EKG, blood tests and an ultra sound of the veins and arteries in his neck. They check to see where the blockages are so they have a heads up for the opperation. They can't tell for certain if there will be more blockages than what they see on the ultra sound until they start the operation and put the dye through the viens and then they willl see more. SO far we know that Dad does have a blockage in his right jugular vein and something wrong with his left vertabrae vein. The ultra sound showed that the blood on his left vertabrae vein was not draining properly and as a result the blood was back traking into his brain, which is not good. So they will try to fix that on Wednesday.

We spent the whole morning at his appointments and stopped at the nearby malll to get some lunch. It was really a lot of walking and waiting and as a result dad was ready to get back to the hotel and have a rest and get off his feet.

We have been paired up with a lady and her friend from Calgary for our appointments. Dawn and Heather came down on the same day as us and it has worked out great as we have made some new friends. Heather also has MS and it was really neat to meet them in Calgary airport and now again at the hotel. Heather is also having her surgery on Wednesday so we have been travelling from appointment to appointment together. We also had lunch with them at the mall.At 3:15 dad has his pre-op physio appointment so they can evaluate his condition before surgery and will know how things have changed post surgery.

Apparently this is a bit of a workout so I am hoping that dad will get some rest before his appointment as he has had a big day already. Dean and I are getting a bit of sun and now I have time to make a blog post.
I heard that the kids don't have school today. Sounds like a nice long weekend for them before exams.

On another note. We have seen James from town and things are looking really great for him. He is traipsing around the hotel. Looking very steady and happy to be able to walk well again. Very great to see. Everyone at the hotel that is here for the MS procedure get together and talk about what they have been going through and supposrt each other through the days before and after the surgery. It is very nice to see people banding together and helping one another through this time. Some people have had great results and others have been dissapointed with how they feel after. Some peoples expectaions were a bit high for the results that they got I guess. But most are smilling which is great to see.

Well, time to get back into the sun. No sense in waisting the time I have in the shade when the sun is shinning. I tryed to type on the computer in the sun and I couldn't see the screen. Turns out we don't have internet in our room for free,so I have to come out to the lobby. Which will make it harder to blog and skype I guess.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

we are here!

Just a quick note to say we made it safely to Costa Rica. My sinus pain improved on the second flight. We had really great seat right behind first class, so lots of leg room. dean and I walked up to the little store and bought ham, buns and drinks for supper. The be3d is looking very comfy and I took a couple of sleeping pills so it should ne a good sleep for me. Night

on the way

Well it's 5am and we are sitting in the Calgary airport waiting for our flight. We got through customs and security very quickly. It is much quicker if you have someone in a wheelchair. We met another woman in a wheelchair and found out she is also going for the MS treatment and she will be in the hospital at the same time as dad and is also staying at the same hotel as we are. That was really cool.
Dad seems really good, not at all nervous. I didn't sleep a wink last night. I don't think its fro feeling nervous or anything. Not sure why. Tonight I am hoping I will finally be tired enough to get a good nights sleep. Dad gets up to go to the bathroom at least 3 or 4 times a night and I am a really light sleeper. So it will take a bit of getting used to. I might have to look for some sleeping pills or something.

Last night Dean and I drove down to the south end of Calgary to see D'arcy and Shelby (our nieces)and the kids. It was really nice. Kenton is 2 and talking a mile a minute. He is so well behaved and such a great polite kid. D'arcy is doing a great job of raising him.
Jacob is such a sweetie-pie. I walked in the door, and spent the next few hours feeding him and playing with him and getting him to sleep. Baby heaven!! It was a great visit. The girls seem to be doing really well and it was so nice to be able to see them after so many years.

We should arrive in Costa Rica at 7:20 tonight. We will get picked up at the airport by the hotel. It will be great to feel +30 again.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

a new beginning


                                   each day is a new beginning.

                        As the clouds clear away and the sun rises.

 I am once again reminded to look to the future, not the past.

                                              To choose JOY.

                                       Because joy is a choice.

                            Every day is a new chance to start again.  

Sunday, January 9, 2011

shorter version

If you tried to read my last post and couldn't get through it for the length, this is a condensed version.
-My dad Ray has Multiple Sclerosis.
-Canada does not have many treatment options for people struggling with MS.
-There is a MS treatment available in Costa Rica that can reverse the symptoms of MS
-It costs $18,000
-My dad wants to live without the symptoms of MS.
-He is going to get the treatment.
-We are going to accompany him.
-We are having a fund raiser raffle to help him with the cost.
-The tickets are $20 each.
You can win your choice of either - an all expense paid guided fishing trip for 2.
                                                 The trip is in summer to Grand Rapids. 
                                                 It is for a weekend and includes 
                                                 transportation from the Altona/Winnipeg 
                                                 area to Grand Rapids and back. All food,
                                                 guided fishing for 2 days, tackle and lodging.
                                                               or if you don't like fishing
                                                 -a box of frozen meat including beef, 
                                                  pork, venison and walleye
                                                  and a $100 gift card to the Clarion (spa)
                                                        ($500 total value).

We feel very fortunate to be able to live in a community that cares and supports each other.

We feel so very supported by everyone. Thank you to all the people who have approached me the last few days with questions and the offer to buy raffle tickets. 
                                  I love it!
If you would like to take part in supporting my dad's trip let us know. Our family will all be selling tickets or you can send me a message that you would like a ticket and pay through Pay Pal using the Chip in website. I'll put your name in the draw and send you a receipt.

             Thank you again for your support!!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hope for MS

Don’t be afraid to step into uncertainty. Leaving room for Him to show up is called faith.

As we are preparing for our next adventure this will be something we will have to strive for. 

Many people in my life may not know my dad. He moved to Alberta 15 years ago and we now only get short visits where we go there or he comes here. 
My dad has always represented strength to me. He was the kind of dad who took care of my screw-ups and never got mad at me. He was the kind of dad that packed us all up in a van when I was 10 and drove us down to Mexico where we lived with a family of Mennonites for a week , there we learnt so much about how different cultures live and how just because people are different doesn't mean they are not worth knowing. My dads always been the type of person who loves people and people are naturally drawn to him.

My dad gave Dean a job and a place to live when my brother brought him home. He also walked me down the isle when we married 3 years later. 

I love my dad...always will. No matter where life has takes us and how many times we all screw up, love is always worth it.

Our love must not be a thing of words and fine talk. It must be a thing of action and sincerity. 1 John 3:1
My dad told me a few years ago how much he loves his grandchildren. When I see him watch them growing up, I see how much he does.
He loves it when we come to visit and he takes us into the foothills to show us cool waterfalls and wild life.

He's the kind of grandpa that lets Miranda give him a manicure...with polish.

        He's the kind of grandpa that Colton loves to hug.

He's the kind of grandpa who likes to show his grand kids new adventures.

This is my dad Ray. 
I love him and want the best for him.

A few years ago, my dad, was thrown a curve ball. He started feeling bad, very unusual for him. It took a long time for the doctors to diagnose him with MS. It took so long because MS is not something a 65 year old man gets. Well that's my dad, always has to do things differently. So after the diagnosis things changed a bit as he finally got some pain relief and some ways of dealing with how he was feeling and what was happening to him. But it was still so different. He was used to getting in his van and coming to see us if he wanted to. He was working doing all sorts of jobs around town and now he had to give this all up. For my dad, this felt like a death sentence. This is not the way he saw himself living his life. Shut in his house unable to move the way he was used to and unable to get through the day without severe pain.

A person with MS can suffer almost any neurological symptom or sign, including changes in sensation such as loss of sensitivity or tingling, pricking or numbness (hypoesthesia and paraesthesia), muscle weakness, clonusmuscle spasms, or difficulty in moving; difficulties with coordination and balance (ataxia); problems in speech (dysarthria) or swallowing (dysphagia), visual problems (nystagmusoptic neuritisincluding phosphenes,[13][14] or diplopia), fatigue, acute or chronic pain, and bladder and bowel difficulties.[1] Cognitive impairment of varying degrees and emotional symptoms of depression or unstable mood are also common.[1] Uhthoff's phenomenon, an exacerbation of extant symptoms due to an exposure to higher than usual ambient temperatures, and Lhermitte's sign, an electrical sensation that runs down the back when bending the neck, are particularly characteristic of MS although not specific.[1] The main clinical measure of disability progression and symptom severity is the Expanded Disability Status Scale or EDSS.[15]
Then the glimmer of hope came. A doctor in Europe seemed to find a "cure" for MS. Yeah!! 
So we waited to hear more about it and better yet, when would dad get his life back and get this surgery??
When you are waiting it seems to take for ever, for governments and doctors to make decisions that could be so important to our lives. It seems that the verdict is that they will not be doing any MS surgeries in Canada in the near future.
Then we started to hear about people going out of the country to get these surgeries. My dad took very little time to decide that this was what he would do. If at all possible, he would do everything in his power to get better.

The Liberation Treatment

The Liberation Treatment is a potentially ground breaking discovering for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. It is thanks to the research of Dr Paolo Zamboni and his team that we now know about this treatment.
Dr Zamboni began his research into MS with the desire to cure his wife. Unhappy with the answers that he could find he decided to research what actually cause MS himself.
His initial research related to why the location of lesion in the brains of MS patients were all venocentric. He rationed that there must be a link between the veins and the occurrence of these lesions. And with further study he found that the brain damage was all counter to the flow of blood, meaning that it likely had something to do with the drainage of blood back to the heart.
Next he started to study both MS and normal patients to determine what differences he could find between them, hoping for an explanation. What he found was that in MS patients he could show that 100% of the cases he tested had abnormal veins, he called this condition CCSVI. Specifically that there were certain points where the veins coming from the brain along the next and upper chest were either restricting or blocking the flow of blood. His research proved that in all cases he found at least two abnormalities in the veins.
The next step he took was to attempt to treat these abnormalities, hoping that by doing so he would be able to cure the disease. By all current accounts of this still on going study the results have been very positive.
Although the number of people who have received the treatment are still few, those that have are living with reduced fatigue, fewer or no relapses and their MS symptoms are slowing being alleviated.
Since there has not been enough studies to prove it, we cannot say that this is a cure, but we sure hope it is.
So that brings me to today. Dean and I are going with my dad to Costa Rica to get the Liberation treatment that will hopefully give my dad some relief from the daily pain and symptoms of MS.
We are flying to Calgary to pick him up and will be there with him in Costa Rica as he undergoes the treatment and the 12 days of rehabilitation after. I feel very blessed to be able to spend these days with him that will be filled with hope and excitement for the future. We are also trying to help him with the cost of the treatment by having a raffle. We will be raffling off an all expense paid guided fishing trip with a choice of either Grand Rapids or Pine Falls.  For those who don't like to fish, there is an option of choosing a meat pkg. which will includes walleye, pork, venison and beef.  We will be selling the tickets and all the proceeds will go to dad to help finance the $18,000 trip for freedom from pain and immobility. 

To buy a ticket for a chance to win the fishing trip or meat pkg. and support our dad send us a message and we will get you signed up or look for tickets around town.

The other way that you could support this trip is to go to this Chip in site where you can safely donate cash to support dad's trip.
We thank you in advance for your prayers and support as we prepare for this next step in our families life.

These are dad's grandchildren. The ones who will be at home waiting to hear the good news of their grandpa feeling better. They will be able to spend this next summer with dad, camping and fishing and he will be watching them grow up.