Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Time To Reflect on MS

It’s a cool, grey fall day – the perfect day to write a blog entry. I’m in Denver, Colorado – tomorrow morning, I’m in a photo shoot for the National Multiple Sclerosis Societyfor the new “Move It” campaign. Speaking of “move it”, I’m only here for one day and then returning to New York, where I’m living, to continue production of my documenetary, When I Walk – , which is about my experiences having MS and exploring research being done about MS. I started the film in November of 2007 and it will continue until 2010.
New York is a crazy and fast-paced city. People moving quickly, car horns blasting, constant stimulation. I live in the East Village and spent my days working on my film. I am very lucky to have had a career of ten years to date as a filmmaker, starting when I was just 20-years old. When I was twenty-five, I was diagnosed ith primary-progressive multiple sclerosis. My reaction was, “ I’ve heard of it I think it’s bad, but I’ll figure it out and be back to normal!” I thought I was invincible.
Over the next three years, I did two more documentaries, and finished graduate school. As primary-progressive MS often can do, my symptoms were worsening. Every day was a new adventure – will I be able to see properly to film with my camera? Will my walking be adequate to do what I need to do today? I learned (by trial and error!) that I didn’t want to overtire myself and pace my energy for the day.
One day late last year, I said, “ Enough is enough – I’m making a film about multiple sclerosis.” I wanted to share my unseen experiences with the world about the often-misunderstood world of MS, and share with others with MS my findings. Importantly, I wanted to show what it’s like to have MS as a young person. We face some challenges to our experience with MS that aren’t necessarily shared by the MS population: dating, early career path, young friendships, and balancing the future…the list goes on.
So here I am, in the middle of the production of “When I Walk” and I have to say I am so happy I’ve made the decision to do this film. Every day, I learn something new about MS, and about myself – things that I will beb able to share with others through the showing of the film. What can I say as advice to those young people with MS? “Stay strong and do the things you love to do! Life does not stop with MS, it actually just begins – the path may need to be accommodated, and enjoy it, it’s a great and adventure-filled path!”

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Afterthoughts on the election

I have a free moment as I sit in a bus going uptown. I know it's been some time since I've blogged- it's just that the film development and production work has been eating at my time.

What's been going on? It's hard to do a recap! Every day with MS is an adventure. I guess I had the first really good sleeep recently. The morning after Obama was elected.

A recap of that night- went to see the election results happening in Tribeca with some of my friends.. Absolutely magical. Returning home In a cab, everyone was out yellng, '"Yes, we can!" crossing by St. Marks up first avenue, there was no room for traffic beecause young people filled the streets. As I drove by, slowly, hands slammed the top of the cab and high-fived me, yelling, "Obama!"

I've been doing some things pre-election. Here's an email I sent out a few weeks ago:

Dear all,

In connection with Barak Obama's campaign website, I had a video made on me by their media team. As you may already know, I have had multiple sclerosis for four years now. After my return to New York after graduate school, I found difficult times wading through the poor state of the American health care system, which prevents coverage to over 50 million Americans. With the number of uninsured Americans at an all-time high, Barak Obama's health care policies are a breath of fresh air to our current climate – and are very necessary.

You can view the video here:

And a write-up on healthcare and my video on Obama's site at: