Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Silent Auction Items for Upcoming Fundraiser

In case you missed the news about my upcoming fundraiser here it is again:



6:00 TO 10:00 PM



email me for more info!

I wanted to share with you the silent auction items we have so far. There are some amazing items on this list and you won't want to miss out! Here is a sneak peak. Hope to see you on Nov 12th!!

Florite bead necklace (purples, greens and blues) handmade by jewelry designer and co-owner of Aboca Beads, Taylor Corson Valued at $40

Walk MS Black “sweatshirt” blanket Valued at $30

Dooney & Bourke large wristlet white/multi Valued at $75

Dooney & Bourke travel case red Valued at $32

iPod Shuffle 2GB silver Valued at $49

Samsung SL50 Digital Camera Valued at $90Stayfit Pedometer with FM Radio Valued at $24

Elizabeth Grady “Signature Facial” gift certificate Valued at $70

Christopher’s Restaurant and Bar (Cambridge) “dinner for two” gift certificate Valued at $65

Lia Sophia necklace – maroon and brown Valued at $78

Lia Sophia necklace – long with blue, white and silver beads Valued at $98

Creative Memories Scrapbooking Basket - more info to come!!!!!

Red Sox Basket including a signed copy of The Ultimate Red Sox Home Run Guide by David Vincent (my mom’s cousin), a copy of
At Fenway: Dispatches From Red Sox Nation
by Dan Shaughnessy and other Red Sox goodies Valued at $40

Heart of the Matter signed by Emily Giffin author of Something Borrowed and Something Blue Valued at $27

Wicked Appetite signed by Janet Evanovich author of the Stephanie Plum series Valued at $28

The Breakdown Lane signed by Jacquelyn Mitchard New York Times bestselling author of The Deep End of the Ocean Valued at $26


Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I've mentioned before that I recently joined the MAAV board. Last weekend I volunteered to help with their upcoming fundraiser. MAAV is celebrating their 15th year and in honor of this they are selling bracelets. I along with other MAAV volunteers made about 70 of these bracelets in a few hours time!

It was a lot of fun and the bracelets are really pretty. I can't wait to buy one! Not only do I really like them but the money goes to a great organization so it is a win/win!

The MAAV Walk is on October 17th. I did create a fundraising page and if you would like to support his organization feel free. As most of you know almost all of my fundraising efforts go to MS but I do like to also help other organizations that I believe in. So if you or someone you know has been impacted by domestic violence feel free to make a donation!

This October marks the 15th Anniversary of the Melrose Alliance Against Violence. Founded by dedicated members of the League of Women Voters, the
ir purpose then remains our mission today: to raise awareness about domestic violence and help victims break free from lives of abuse. Thanks to community support, we’ve grown tremendously over the past 15 years, developing a strong emphasis on prevention and reaching over 1,000 youth and adults each year. As a leader in violence prevention, MAAV has worked on many fronts to break the cycle of domestic violence, including:
  • Working in partnership with the Melrose Police Department to provide critical support to victims of domestic violence and trainings to healthcare providers
  • Offering teen dating violence prevention programs at the middle & high school levels
  • Implementing an innovative mentoring program for youth at risk
  • Being on the forefront of comprehensive bullying prevention programs
On October 17, 2010, MAAV will sponsor our 15th Annual Walk & Candlelight Vigil to raise awareness about domestic violence. The event generates tremendous community support from over 400 participants, including teams representing 35 organizations throughout the city, and raises much-needed funds for our programs that work to break the cycle of domestic violence.
We invite you as an individual, family, business or organization to sponsor MAAV’s Annual Walk and help us fulfill our mission to prevent violence before it starts.
This weekend I had another volunteering experience for another great organization, RCR also making jewelry. I'm seeing a trend here - must be where I got all my great ideas! haha! I spent time with a former professor from Boston College School of Social Work where I got my master's degree. While I was in grad school my professor and I created a class which traveled to Romania. This professor is still leading this trip to Romania 6 years later and still raising money for the children of Romania. I was so excited to help them out because in the past I've always had conflicts. So together we made bracelets and earrings and talk about Romania and many other things. It was a lot of fun and brought back a lot of great memories for an AMAZING experience that I had.
Volunteering at Romanian hospital in 2004

Sunday, September 26, 2010

2 Year MS Anniversary

Two years ago today I was diagnosed with MS. At times it feels like it was yesterday and at other times I find it hard to remember my life without MS. MS has become such a huge part of my life, not just because of my health but because of my involvement with volunteering and fundraising for MS. Often times I wonder why I got MS. . . the whole "why me" question. I don't really know for sure why me but I do believe there is a reason or a purpose so I just try to do all I can to make a difference while I am healthier enough to do so.

In honor of my 2 year anniversary I thought I would share my diagnosis story with all of you. So here goes. . . On Thursday, September 25, 2008 I woke up to my alarm clock just like any other day. But this day I noticed that my left food and leg were asleep. I figured I had just slept on it weird so I dragged myself out of bed and got in the shower. When the water hit me I realized that my left arm and side had that same feeling of "being asleep" or pins and needles. I thought it was weird but didn't pay much attention. So I continued to get ready for work like any other day. When I brushed my hair and my brush went down the back of my head and neck I had "that feeling" there too. I thought, "Hmmmm what the heck is this all about." Off to work I went. When I got to the office (at the adoption agency where I use to work) I told my two co-workers, Joana and Mary about my weird pins and needles on my left side. I told them I had closed my ankle in the door the night before and thought maybe it was from that. Or maybe it was a migraine? Or a pinched nerve? I decided to google my symptoms to see if I could figure it out and even read about some auto immune diseases including MS. At this point I really wasn't overly concerned but they were. Joana really encouraged me to call my doctor so I did. Or course the secretary told me he had no openings so I told her what was going on and ask her if he could call me. A few minutes later the nurse called me back and asked me to come in later that day. So home from work I went. By the way I also had a cold and was exhausted. I had mentioned to a few friends and my family that I wasn't feeling well including my pins and needles.

I went to see my doctor that afternoon and told him what was going on. He check me out both for my cold and for the pins and needles. He did a full neurological exam but stated he wasn't overly concerned because other than the pins and needles my exam was "normal." He decided to consult with a neurologist anyways who wanted me to come over and see him first thing the next day (it was already late afternoon at this point). So that was that. I went home and laid on my couch watching tv and being lazy. I wasn't feeling great due to the cold and but this time my whole left side was numb including my face. I had also told a friend of a friend I would house and cat sit for several days and it started this night. So I went over to their house to hang with the cat and sleep over. The next morning, Friday, September 26, 2008 I went to St. Elizabeth's Medical Center to see the neurologist. We immediately hit it off because he asked me what I did for work and I told him I was an adoption social worker. It turns out that he is an adoptive father so he starts telling me a little about that. Then I tell him what has been going on and he does a full neurological exam. He too states that he is not overly concerned because my exam was "normal" except for the numbness. He talked to me about some things it could be from like stress, virus or anxiety. Then he recommended that I have an MRI and blood work. I remember him saying that it was probably nothing and it would likely go away and I would never know for sure what it was from. I thought, "ok that makes sense - probably nothing." I went back to sit in the waiting room while he talked to his secretary to coordinate the MRI. I called my mom (who was at work) to let her know what was going on and of course she was worried. She and my dad wanted to come over. I told her not to because I was really tired and just wanted to go home and go to bed after the MRI. She said ok (but she lied haha). So the neurologist comes back and tells me to head down right then for the MRI because they had an opening. He tells me that he is on call for the weekend and I can call him if I want to get "the results" but that it is "probably nothing."

So I head down for the MRI and get registered. Then I wait. At this point I'm still not really nervous. Both my doctor and neurologist have reassured me that it is probably nothing. So I'm just wanting to get it over with so that I can go home and sleep. I head in for the MRI and once in the tube I'm thinking, "well this isn't an opportunity for a nap." The banging was rather annoying! This was my first time having an MRI so I really didn't know what to expect. After a 1/2 hour they pulled me out to inject contrast and back in the tube I go for about another 20 minutes. I finish up the MRI and go to the bathroom to get dressed. When I come out the tech tells me that the neurologist was ready to see me in her office. I told her that he told me I could just go home afterwards and she again tells me I need to go see him. So I was thinking that he was just going to give me the results in person since it was before 5 PM and he was still there. No big deal right. At that same time my parents arrived at the hospital (of course they had hopped in the car as soon as I told my mom I was having the MRI). So I told my mom that I had to go back up to see the doctor. I found out later that she was freaking out but I was still ok. I just remember saying to her "Why would I need to go back and see him." Denial is a wonderful thing I guess because I was still pretty calm.

So I walk off the elevator toward the secretary and she says, "Hi Jodi I'm just getting your admission paperwork ready." I say, "WHAT?" She says, "Oh the doctor will be with you shortly have a seat in the waiting room." We go and sit in the waiting room and I say out loud, "Why would I need to be admitted to the hospital? I'm fine." All while sitting in the waiting room of the MS Center surrounded by pamphlets. I even get a phone call from my aunt Cathy who was calling to check on me. I told her what was going on and that the neurologist thought it was nothing but wanted me to have an MRI to rule out MS and blood work to rule out Lyme's disease and other stuff.

A little while later, the secretary tells us that the neurologist in in the emergency room dealing with an emergency and that we should take a walk to the cafeteria. So we do and I get a tea and we kill some time. We head back and soon after the neurologist arrives and apologizes for keeping us waiting. I sit down in his office and he says, "Well by now you know there was something on your MRI." And I'm thinking no not really, "What?" He says, "You have MS." I remember being SHOCKED. But I'm fine. I'm healthy. There is nothing wrong with me. He continues to say, "I am going to admit you to the hospital for 5 days of infusions of steroids. That will help the inflammation go down and hopefully get rid of your symptoms." I ask, "Can I go home first? Can I work next week?" Seriously I'm thinking about work when I've just been told I have MS. What is wrong with me? Haha! So we ask questions, he tells us a lot of stuff, I cry a little and then we head downstairs to wait to be admitted. Still in shock I call my roommate, Stephanie. She asks how I'm doing and I remember telling her not good. I told her that I had MS and I don't think she really knew what to say. Then I had to ask her if she could cat sit for me that night since I wasn't going anywhere. She was great and agreed to do that as well as pack a bag for my parents to pick up to bring over to the hospital.

So we wait and wait some more and finally I get up to my room. I think it is like 6 PM by now. My original appointment had been at 11 AM so it had already been a LONG day. My parents leave together so that my dad could drive my car back to my house and so they could get some stuff for me. The neurologist (who I guess at this point is now my neurologist since I'd be needing one) comes to see me. It was so nice of him to come and visit with me on a Friday night to make sure all of my questions had been answered. He talked more about adoption and he shared his daughter's adoption story with me. It was really nice because in that moment it made me feel more normal since adoption was what I did I could focus on that part of me instead of the new sick part of me.

My parents returned and my brother, Timmy also came to visit that night. My mom had called my 3 brothers, grandparents, aunts and uncle. Luckily are family is pretty small so she didn't have too many people to call. I couldn't even begin to think about all the phone calls I needed to make. Joana called me soon after as she was anxiously awaiting an update from me. I had to tell her my news and she too was shocked. I can't really remember who else I told that night. Strange since I remember the rest of the day in so much detail. But the details of all those phone calls are a little blurry. I do know I had to start my first treatment that night so they got me set up with an IV and started the steroids. I was so exhausted by the time that was done and everyone left that I pretty much just went to bed.

I'm not going to get into all of the details of the next 5 long, boring days spent in the hospital because this post is already super long! But to summarize I had a lot of visitors and felt so fortunate to have such a supportive family and friends. I also got flowers, cards, candy, etc. I guess all I had to do was get sick to be showered with attention and gifts. Haha. Finally on Tuesday afternoon I was allowed to go home. Here I am right before leaving the hospital . You would think I would look much happier to be going home (well to my parent's home) but I always feel a little silly posing for pictures alone.

I stayed at my parents house through the weekend. I was pretty exhausted from the ordeal so I didn't do much of anything. I pretty much rested and regrouped. My grandparents sent me the above flowers once I was out of the hospital which was so nice! My mom took me shopping too which was really nice but I was so tired I could hardly enjoy it. I did get a few new things though.
The other great thing about being at my parent's house (besides that fact that they took care of me) was that Peyton lives 5 minutes from them. At the time of my diagnosis Peyton was exactly 9 months old. So seeing her "walking" and getting kisses from her was the best medicine. At this age she was pretty obsessed with shoes and really enjoyed the ones I was wearing. I love looking back at these pictures and remember her at that age. She was such a cutie!

So this is my diagnosis story. There are chunks of details I left out because I was getting tired of typing. But from many, many other MS'ers I've talked to I think my story is much different. I was diagnosed VERY quickly. I know many others aren't that fortunate and for this I'm appreciative to my neurologist for sending me for that MRI. I know he was pretty surprised along with my doctor! I guess I'm full of surprises.

Once again I just want to thank my family and friends for their continued support during the last 2 years. Some days are easier than others but I'm so thankful to know I have so many people to lean on. Without all of you this journey would not be easy. Thank you so much for standing by me!

P.S. Too tired to proof read this post so I'm sure there are typos but just pretend they aren't there!

iPhone + Toilet = Sad Jodi

For those of you who have known we for a while know that I have lost (or had my iPhone stolen) twice. The weird thing is before I had the iPhone I had just regular boring cell phones and NEVER EVER lost one. Back in July I lost my iPhone at Target. If you didn't read about it go here first.

So last night was a first for me. . . I dropped my brand new iPhone 4 in the toilet. Then since I didn't know I had I flushed the toilet and left the stall. Another girl went in to use the bathroom and I realized I didn't have my phone and I started searching my purse then the floor. The girl came out and my friend Jenny went into the stall to look and there it was in the toilet. But it wasn't floating around near the top - no it was WAY down (since it had been flushed twice) and Jenny had to fish it out. So needless to say my phone is not currently working.

When I got home I placed my phone in a bowl of dry rice b/c I remembered hearing this could help. Then this morning I did a google search for "drying out iPhone" and surprisingly there are a ton of articles about this topic. I guess I'm not the only one who has ever dropped a phone in the toilet. Turns out it is quite common. The "experts" suggest putting it in rice and using silica gel which you order online. So I ordered some today and it should be here in 2 to 3 days. It will stay in the rice until then and then I will use the silica gel which will help pull out more of the moisture.

The phone has sensors that turn pink when it gets wet so the people at Apple will known it got wet. So no making up a story about it not working for some other reason! But there may be an option for repair if it doesn't work after all of my home remedies.

So feeling pretty depressed about the whole thing and PRAYING it will work again. If anyone out there has an old iPhone they aren't using and want to donate to me for the week I would really appreciate it.

I told my sister-in-law Jenn to tell my almost 3 year old niece, Peyton that I had dropped my phone in the toilet and she said "Why would Jodi drop her phone in the toilet?" and I told her I had asked myself the same question! Then she asked "Does this mean I can't play the games anymore?" Haha! It is all about her!! :) Peyton LOVES my phone and we recently added two new games which she is really enjoying. Hopefully I won't have to disappoint her.

Friday, September 24, 2010

New Oral Medication for MS

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved fingolimod capsules (Gilenya,™ Novartis International AG) for reducing the frequency of clinical relapses and delaying the accumulation of physical disability in relapsing forms of MS, making it the first oral disease-modifying therapy for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. According to Novartis, the drug will be available for prescription in coming weeks.

If you would like to read the entire article go here.

Maybe someday soon Avonex shots will be a distant memory for me!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Provigil Update

I started taking Provigil (used for fatigue from MS) on Friday. Right now I'm taking 1 100 mg tablet each day but I can take up to 200 mg each day if needed. So far so good. I really have noticed a difference. I feel much less tired throughout the day. I wouldn't say I feel 100% but it is definitely a big improvement from where I've been. So I'd say that is a success.

So right now I'm exhausted from two emotionally draining days of work (but that is a whole other post). I'm resting tonight since I have a long day tomorrow. While this medication isn't going to make it possible to do everything I think it is at least helping me get through the work day a little easier. And I'm not yawning is everyone's faces all day! Haha!

Not sure why I didn't try it sooner since my neurologist has suggested it to me many times. I was always reluctant to add another medication to my lost list of meds! Plus I take medication to sleep so I thought it was a bit weird to take something to sleep every night and then something every morning to stay awake! But if this is what works for now this is what I will do.

The goal is to join the gym when I get back from vacation. I'm hoping the Provigil will keep me awake enough a couple of evenings a week so that I can work out. We shall see. . .

Jodi Bean's Fundraiser for MS


NOVEMBER 12, 2010

6:00 to 10:00 PM



Sunday, September 19, 2010

Go Team!

I couldn't tell you the last time I went to a football game especially a Pop Warner football game. Well today I did but not to watch football. . . I went to watch Taylor cheerleading!

I can't believe that she is almost as tall as me! What happen!? Haha!

This is Taylor's first time as a cheerleader and I'm so proud of her for trying something new. This is a great sport for her b/c she loves to dance and jump around.

She had to learn all the cheers pretty quickly and she is doing a great job! She was the loudest cheerleader out there today for sure! I could always hear her voice over the others girls.

During halftime the girls went out on the field and did a cheer/dance. They did a great job and I could tell them have been working very hard.

Taylor is there in the front of the base helping to hold one of the girls up!

I'm so glad I got to see Taylor cheer today (even though it was SO hot and there was no shade). The cheerleaders were wearing turtleneck shirts so they must have been sweating!

Taylor warned me before the game that the football team wasn't very good and she was right. They lost! But I only went to see her so I was very happy.

Taylor you are amazing!
Keep up the great work.
You did spectacular!

MS Challenge Walk 2010

Last weekend was the MS Challenge Walk on the Cape. There are only a handful of these walks around the country and the Greater New England Chapter of the National MS Society puts on a great event! Usually this walk is 50 miles in 3 days. 20 miles on Day 1 and Day 2 and 10 miles on Day 3. This year they had to shorten it to 30 miles in 2 days due to the Jewish Holiday. Next year it is back to 50 miles though!!

I had heard a lot about this event from people who do it every year and they talked so highly of it that I just had to get involved but knew I could never walk that far! So my mom and I joined the crew and I'm so glad we did.

We got there early Friday morning. We were the crew for The Big Top Tent and I was the crew leader. The Big Top Tent is where the events take place. On Friday we spent the day setting up and decorating for the Friday night welcome party which was a 50s theme. You can't tell from the picture but it was REALLY windy. My mom was in charge of taping the centerpieces down and she had to use A LOT of tape. I worked on balloons and I think my fingers still hurt from making those knots. Thankfully one of the other volunteers, Carla, took over for me!

The caterer brought these tablecloths and made this centerpiece w/ the records which I think was such a cute idea. She borrowed them from her husband's collection. I can't believe people still have records!

There was a lot of food and the presentation was so pretty. The event was just a big party where people could eat and talk to old and new friends.

The caterers kept the food in the 50s theme and had a mini diner w/ hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, fries and onion rings. They also had malted milk shakes, root beer floats, mac and cheese and more.
Did I mention that they also serve alcohol at the MS Challenge Walk??? I was so surprised (but excited) to learn this. Who knew people could walk many miles then walk to come back and drink. Haha! Anyways they had beer and wine both Fri night and Sat afternoon/evening. Oh and all the food and drinks are FREE!

Dressing up was encouraged and since we were on the crew making this whole party happen we figured we would set a good example and participate. I'm not usually into the whole Halloween costume/dressing up thing but after finding this adorable costume I decided to play along. My mom has on a Pink Ladies jacket! We got a lot of compliments on our costumes.

Elvis made an appearance at the party too. Turns out he is a big supporter for MS and couldn't miss the event. He was even generous enough to pose for a picture for me. All and all the party was a lot of fun and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. That made all of our hard work well worth it!

By the end of the party we were definitely ready to go to bed. I was so tired that the whole sleeping in a cabin thing didn't even really bother me. Believe me I did check for bed bugs based on my last camping experience. The Sea Camps were bed bug FREE! We learned early the next morning that there is a traditional wake up call each year. Around 5:30 AM we heard a car beeping and blasting the song "It's a Beautiful Day" by U2. What a way to wake up - it was still dark and chilly. Good thing we had bacon to look forward to at breakfast!

Finally Day 1 of the walk arrived. It was a beautiful Cape Cod day perfect for the walkers (a little cool for the crew). We started out the day w/ an opening ceremony which was really nice. Several staff members spoke and there was a flag ceremony. There were 22 states represented at the walk so a person from each state carried their flag to the start line. There was also morning stretches which was fun to watch! Since it was Sept 11th we also remembered all the people who lost a loved one and our military who protect us. Then they were off!

Was the walkers left it was time for The Big Top Tent Crew to get to work! Fortunately we gained a new volunteer on Saturday. Soukie, a 4 month old lab puppy, kept me company a good part of the day. She was a welcome addition! So sweet and cute. We spent part of the day cleaning up from Friday night event then had to set up for the Candlelight Vigil for Saturday night.

It was a lot of work so we made sure to take a quick break at the beach. This beautiful view is just steps from The Big Top Tent.

This is a private beach for the Sea Camps and it is such a beautiful beach. The sand was SO soft. It was a little too chilly to hang out there for too long and we had to get back to work!

Here we are in our "Crew" shirts. You can't really tell here but the are a sage/olive green kinda color. The safety crew wore yellow and the medical color wore lime green. This was just one of our 3 FREE tee-shirts! So not only do you get free food and drinks but you get several shirts - have I convinced you to sign up yet?

Maybe this will convince you to join the crew or walk in 2011. . . FREE MASSAGES! Yes that is me looking deal on the table b/c I'm so relaxed. My back was sore from lifting so many heavy things so this was such a nice treat.

On Saturday when the walkers returned they had time to RELAX. We had set up lots of yummy snacks for them to eat and or course the beer and wine were being served. It was such a nice afternoon to be outside.

The evening program on Saturday was AMAZING. I don't want to say too much about it b/c I'm want you to be surprised if you are there next year! It was really special and I appreciate the people who were willing to participate and share their stories. At the end we lit candles in honor of those who have MS and for those who support us. Here we are w/ our new friend Carla who was a volunteer on The Big Top Crew too.

Here is a view w/ all the candles lit. It looked so pretty! So cool to see so many people come together to support MS. I feel like we always here so much about The American Cancer Society and their walks and events. . . well they've got nothing on The National MS Society. There are so many people involved to make these events awesome and so many walkers who want to find a cure. It is such a moving thing to see.

After the program many people went to bed - but not me! I went to the beach w/ Carla and my cabin mate, Susan to check out the "after party." Shocking to me that the walkers still had any every left to party but they did! We enjoyed a bonfire and some drinks. No s'mores but believe me I'll be bringing the supplies for next year (just another reason for you to join us!)

On Sunday we again cleaned up The Big Top Tent and also checked all the cabins. After we were all done at The Sea Camps my mom and I headed to Dennis where the pre-finish line and lunch is held. Everyone gets a tee-shirt. If you have MS you wear Orange and if you don't you wear Blue. It looks really cool to see those orange shirts mixed in w/ TONS of blue shirts. Again just another visual of all the people who support us.

Here we are in our shirts! They say "Walk With Purpose" which is such a simple phrase but packed w/ so much meaning. We cheered in the walkers at the pre-finish line and then had a delicious BBQ lunch.

The real finish line is in Hyannis. After all the walkers arrive in Dennis and have lunch we loaded up on school buses and drove over to the Hyannis bus station. There all the walkers, crew and volunteers walk together in a parade down Main St. It was really cool! There are many family members and friends cheering in the walkers.

There was a quick closing ceremony on the green and everyone got medals (even crew). My dad joined us at the closing ceremony too. And ANOTHER reason to participate in the walk next year is all the great people you meet - we had a great time getting to know Carla and look forward to seeing her next year (if not sooner).

Yes I'm already registered for 2011. It is only $25 if you register early which is such a great deal. I'm so glad I got involved in this event. It was such a fun and rewarding experience. I'm so excited to make this a tradition. My mom and I hope others may want to join us on the crew next year.

And rumor has it that The Bean Team will be represented at the 2011 Challenge Walk. My sister-in-law, Jenn and my cousin-in-law, Meghan both have verbally committed to walk 50 miles. They think it will be a nice weekend away from the kids! Haha. Don't let them walk alone. Join them - it is only 50 miles and you only have to raise $1,500 and I can guarantee you that you will feeling so great after this event (despite the blisters). Many of had said that this event is life changing. . . see for yourself.