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A weekend away - but not from MS

A weekend away - but not from MS

At the end of the month my family and I are going to spend a long weekend in Montreal, Quebec. It's a 5-hour drive from where I live, which in terms of road trips is quite minor. Well not when you have MS.


Having MS can require the use of a lot of project management skills. For me, these include research, scheduling, evaluating resources, meetings, and of course strategic planning. I have been applying all of these and event planning to make this road trip happen. On top of considering all our interests in terms of activities, attractions, and cuisine, I need to factor in the reality of my truncated availability due to fatigue and the physical limitations dues to mobility challenges. Montreal's unique cobblestone streets will take me more time and effort to traverse. MS poses many challenges for travel, but I am excited and determined to plan for and have a great trip. 

The Drive

Thankfully, my husband doesn't mind doing all the driving. I used to be able to share the responsibility of long-term highway driving with him, but my most recent MS attack has caused pain in my right foot that is felt when my foot is in the same position for too long. Regular driving is not an issue because your foot positioning changes, but I can no longer drive long stretches on a highway because of the discomfort. I will spend a lot of the drive enjoying music with my husband, chatting with the kids, passing snacks, and of course, napping. Hoping to be well rested so I can enjoy Montreal when we arrive. 

Maximizing Waking Hours

I have always been an early riser, and at this point in my life, I am typically awake by 6:45. My kids are not. This means that a lot of my waking hours, which are limited by MS fatigue, do not overlap with theirs. The plan is to bring my laptop and work for 1.5 hours each morning so I can spend that time productively. After a family meeting, we have agreed that we will all be ready to depart the hotel by 9:30am to make the most of our weekend in Montreal. 

MS Fatigue Doesn't Take a Vacation

Like many of my fellow MS warriors, fatigue is one of my most challenging symptoms. If I hadn't experienced it, I would have said requiring a walking aid to safely walk more than 15 metres would be the most difficult. But MS fatigue that comes on like a heavy velour theatre curtain dropping before intermission is the worst for me. It robs me of many hours every day. I have built my life around it and I work from home, so I am able to still have a career, but it requires a lot of acceptance to not make me feel 'less than'. There are many outings and events that I am not able to participate in or need to ask others to adjust for me. I advocate for myself and make those requests, and they are most often well received, but that is not as carefree as I would like things to be. For the upcoming trip, my plan is to make sure all the things I want to experience together as a family are before or after my 2 daily required naps. The other experiences, I accept will be done without me. I will either walk or Uber back to the hotel to nap and most importantly re-charge so I can enjoy the balance of the sights and attractions with my family. MS fatigue may not take a vacation, but I want to.

Future Trips

Planning for this trip has made me think that maybe there are other ways I should be challenging the boundaries of my MS imposed comfort zone. There are many things that MS has left me unable to easily do, but maybe these weekend getaways are more doable than I anticipated. I hope to be able to report that after this upcoming family getaway to Montreal. I told my best friend that it's possible I'll join her for a weekend trip to visit her daughter at university in Boston. I'm hoping to add some weekends away despite not being able to get away from MS.

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About the author


51, Canada, RRMS, DX 2018, Kesimpta