Covid-19 - March 28 2020

March 28 2020

World Covid19 Cases: 659,789
World Covid19 Deaths: 30,639
USA Covid19 Cases: 120,768
USA Covid19 Deaths: 2,018
Pennsylvania Covid19 Cases: 2,751
Pennsylvania Covid19 Deaths: 34
Berks County Cases: 65
 (I should note here that our county doesnt have a health department - thus Im assuming, causing delays in reporting numbers as well as reporting over the weekend)

Well, we did something today that we have never done before. lol.

We woke up at 5:45am... to go to the grocery store.

I KNOW.  Kris and I both actually really dislike all grocery stores - and yet, surprisingly, one of our first "dates" included a walk through a grocery store looking for food.  But romantics aside, we dont like the stores.

Grocery stores near us have been offering special hours for the elderly and the vulnerable first thing in the morning - allowing for less people in contact as well as stocked shelves.  These hours are from 6am - 7:30am.  And yes, we both went.

It was a tough call to take.  We discussed: should I go?  Yes, Kris isnt vulnerable.  But he lives with someone who is.  His germs are my germs.  But, to go to the store, as a a healthy male - what message would that give?  What looks would he get? 

It wasnt worth it.  So I went.  We disinfected my wheelchair, I wore gloves, and I changed clothes as soon as I got home.

The good news is we were able to get some legit food (aka meat) and with what we already have, are prepared to stay in fully for the next two weeks.  A pharmacy run might need to be taken but besides that, we are fully shelter at home. 

Which, we've already been doing lol.  It's just now official that our whole county has to too.

The grocery stores are doing an amazing job stocking those shelves.  I know they're working overtime to keep it that way and I also know much of America is thankful.  Hopefully those feelings are felt.

The rest of the day was, like, super chill.  It's a basic PA gray day, rainy, dark.  We made a good lunch and we watched the movie Knives Out (I thought it was decent - I think I was expecting more than was delivered). 

We got to facetime with our little niece P which was adorable.  It's good to talk with family.  But you can tell in everyone's voices and messages that we're tired.  Like emotionally drained.  There's so many layers to what is going on, and there really is no escape from it.  Even in sleep I find that there isnt much relief, having had a tough sleep schedule lately. 

I saw this meme that made me lol (see below).  I dont know about y'all but this lent is like 40 lents long. 

On that note,

Stay healthy, stay safe.

Covid19 - March 27 2020

March 27 2020

World Covid19 Cases: 594,280
World Covid19 Deaths: 27,250
USA Covid19 Cases: 102,338
USA Covid19 Deaths: 1,607
Pennsylvania Covid19 Cases: 2,218
Pennsylvania Covid19 Deaths: 22
Berks County Cases: 65

Well, today was just like ugh.  Antibiotics really kick my butt and this round from this uti realllly kicked my butt late yesterday and today.

The sun was shining though and that vitamin d went straight to my soul.  Still you see people not social distancing on the streets and again, if I could talk, I'd be speaking suggestions from the balcony!  Today while exiting our building to go for a walk (well, I get pushed around but really, it's lovely - Im in a wheelchair's not a bad thing), there was a teenager waiting in our lobby.  A car full of teenage girls pulled up to pick her up.  You cant completely blame the teenagers and youth - I know she lives with her parents.  Where are they in this mess?  I know the old saying "kids will be kids" and "you have to let them grow sometime", but really?  This is the time, during a global pandemic, where her chances of catching a virus that could kill someone else she comes in contact with is semi-high, that you decide to let her have that lovely independence?  I truly dont understand it.

Today our county's cases for covid19 doubled; this led to a shelter from home order for our county, as well as many others in the state of PA.  Pennsylvania is an odd state because you have two large cities on each side of the state and then you have farmland in between.  And the case maps show that the cases are mostly to the east or to the west.  So, as of right now, a county by county shelter at home makes more sense than a whole state issue.

I really hope this shelter from home order works. 

I learned today of a study done in Italy of cases of Multiple Sclerosis and Covid19.  Of the 50 people they followed, only 3 passed away.  Those 3 though had two strong similarities - they had SPMS (secondary progressive MS) and they were not on a DMT (disease modifying therapy).  Guess who falls in this category?  Hi, it's me. 

We know that the demyelination in MS can cause weakness of muscles, including those of the respiratory system.   Just two weeks ago this was mentioned to me from the hospital doctors as a possible cause to why I was having trouble breathing and having the cough.  I cant even imagine how having a respiratory virus that wrecks havoc on the lungs as much as Covid19 does  would feel on top of these already weakened muscles.

This, in addition to the fact that my immunoglobulins are low (suggesting that perhaps my immune system isnt so great, in basic terms), are encouraging me to take all the precautions.  And I will probably continue to do so past the regular date of relief out of caution.

There's a balance of living with an illness and living well.  Sometimes you have to make the sacrifices (staying inside) and sometimes you get to YOLO a little (going for a day adventure with precautions).  For me right now, I know by making these sacrifices, I'm better preparing myself for more yolo days.

Right now, America, heck, the world, is doing the same.

Here's to feeling better tomorrow from these stupid antibiotics (ok, for real, I'm beyond grateful but gosh darn).  Here's to the health of all those in the world.  Here's to those with Covid19, in critical condition, alone.  It was suggested to me to "adopt" one or two and to say some prayers/ send some good vibes directly to them.  Loved this idea.  It's a beautiful witness of the empathy of mankind.

Stay healthy, stay safe.

PS: What is up with the news outlets cutting out the white house press conferences before our beloved Dr Fauci and Dr Birx get to speak?!?!?!  Over it.  Netflix, your turn.

PPS: The nation right now is very in to this show called tiger king.  Kris and I finished in yesterday.  I wont say anything more except just google Joe Exotic The Tiger King.

Covid19 Dairy - March 26th 2020

March 26th 2020

World Covid19 Cases: 520,393
World Covid19 Deaths: 23,593
USA Covid19 Cases: 79,082
USA Covid 19 Deaths: 1,143
Pennsylvania Covid19 Cases: 1,687
County Covid19 Cases: 36

There's a main road in our little Pennsylvania borough a block from our apartment.  I can see a major stoplight from our living room and balcony.  

There are a lot of people out today. 

It's a beautiful day, partly sunny, in the 60s.  I saw a group of kid's taking a bike ride together.  I see people taking walks and stopping to talk to neighbors.  It's beautiful to get outside. 

But what I dont see: social distancing.  

Are people just not realizing?  Are they no concerned?  Do they think covid19 doesnt live in the sunlight, like a vampire of some kind?

If I could speak, yall know I'd be speaking suggestions from my balcony.

I havent watched or read any news today - it was a cleanse I needed.  Not that I dont think it's important to read and know what is going on.  I just needed a moment to not be bombarded.  I needed a moment from the opinions and interpretations of others.

I'm on day 3 of an antibiotic due to a UTI I got from my hospital stay (happens like every time; its a b word).  Antibiotics just wreck me - literally.  But I am SO THANKFUL for this round.  I was able to get access to them by contacting my health network back in pittsburgh and doing an "evisit".  It was efficient, and obviously effective.  

Is this the future of healthcare?  All those times I couldnt make an appointment because I was too sick, too tired, just couldnt even...and here we couldve been doing evisits the whole time?!

Granted, with neurology, there are things that need to be tested in person.  And for PCP items, the same.  But really, a lot of things can be done via the computer.  I hope this stays.

Overall my mental health is good.  I find comfort in knowing that Spring is coming.  I appreciate the daily "walks" that my husband pushes me on.  We have toilet paper (which, is like gold because it cant be found anywhere), we have food, we have water, we even have white claws.  

I watched a beautiful video last night taken in Spain.  It was of a young man playing "My Heart Will Go On" from his balcony and his neighbors and friends looking on from their balconies.  Another neighbor was joining in the music with a horn.  I mean it was just beautiful.  Here in America we dont really have balconies like they do in europe outside of big cities - but dont be surprised if in a week or so I'm out on our balcony, playing from our soundbox, Celine Dion, to all our neighbors and their pets. 

Stay healthy, stay safe. 

Covid19 Diary - March 25 2020

March 23 2020

  • USA Covid19 Cases: 42,200
  • USA Covid19 Deaths: 520
  • Pennsylvania Covid19 cases: 644
  • County Covid19 Cases: 14

March 24 2020

  • World Covid19 Cases: 414,000
  • World Covid19 Deaths: 18,500
  • USA Covid19 Cases: 51,800+
  • USA Covid 19 Deaths: 668
  • Pennsylvania Covid19 Cases: 851
  • County Covid19 Cases: 16

March 25 2020

  • World Covid19 Cases : 461,971
  • World Covid19 Deaths: 20,853
  • USA Covid19 Cases: 64,396
  • USA Covid19 Deaths: 901
  • Pennsylvania Covid19 cases: 1,127
  • County Covid19 cases: 20

*these numbers are taken at the time of writing and may change

I read an article the other day written by an english professor / historian, explaining how important it is for us - the people - to keep a diary of our daily lives during this pandemic time.

It might seem odd - Im just a normal person, why should I write this down?   5, 10, many years from now, we will think back to this time and wonder - how did we make it through?  These daily notes will show how - we just kept living.  It also puts in to perspective how daily everything changes.

My husband and I started to prep for covid19 February 29th.  We made a run to the grocery store and stocked up on essentials (no, we didnt buy the whole store).  I got the last bottle of hand sanitizer at that time.

On February 29th there wasnt much being done, if anything, in the USA for containment.  Some will claim that they shut down borders to certain countries but in the same breath, they were also saying this was not a concern.

That same weekend my husband and I sat outside on an extremely warm for March day and contemplated all that was going on.  We had made plans to buy airline tickets to go see my husband's family in April - should be purchase those tickets?  Were we overreacting?  Who should we listen to?

I myself started to take precautions and started to self isolate inside.  I have multiple sclerosis - while this doesnt make me necessarily immunodeficient in itself, I do know I have a fragile immune system.  I also know that by having MS, any type of overrun immune system can cause a pseudo-relapse. I also just know my body - it will catch any ugly germ it will see.

I also have low B Cell count, due to past use of a drug called Rituxan, as well as low immunoglobulin levels.  Both of these are quite concerning when dealing with germs and keeping foreign virus' and bacteria's at bay.  So self isolating made extreme sense to me.

Self isolation is not new to me.  Because of the things mentioned above, having dealt with these for 8 years, I am used to self isolating from germs.  From November - March I usually spend much of my time self isolating out of precaution from the basic cold and the flu.  In addition, I have an atypical, progressive demyelination disease.  This in itself causes moments that could be deemed self isolation but rather, I just stay inside because my body is too sick to do anything else.

But still there was this overwhelming thought - are we over-exaggerating?

Fast forward to 25 days later - no, we were not exaggerating.

Today most of the country is shut down.  Many state's governors have put their states on shelters-at-home.  Grocery stores are bare, so are the streets.

The USA does not have containment of this disease.  We do not have supporting data yet that we have flattened the curve.  The economy has taken a nose dive.  The hospitals are running out of supplies.

It is crazy to think - over two weeks ago I was very sick.  My breathing was heavy - my lungs felt like theyd just run two miles out of shape (I'm currently in a wheelchair so yes, legs very out of shape).  In addition, I had a terrible dry cough.  But no fever.  So I delayed seeking any medical treatment/testing.

Until Friday March 13th.  As someone who experiences poor health on a daily basis, you know it has to get bad for you to even consider the ED.  It was that bad.  After going back and forth for days whether or not to seek emergency help, my husband and I decided it was time. We went to the ED.

While waiting, my husband made the comment: "you'd never know there was a pandemic from in here".  And it was true - the hospital was just like any other night.   In fact, many overheard conversations were poking fun of the country wide fear due to many of the nation's schools being closed that day, leading most grocery stores to be wiped out.

At the time, my husband and I took comfort in this.  Well, it cant get that bad if they arent taking precautions right?

I was admitted Friday night and discharged Sunday.  The vast difference in their policies just from that weekend alone were so large.  That was less than two weeks ago.  Now hospitals are running out of supplies and preparing for a storm.

Did I have covid19?  Most likely no. In short, I didnt qualify for a test because I didnt have a fever.  My white blood cell count was high, indicating an infection, I tested negative for the flu, yet the xray and cat scans of my lungs were mostly clear.  This was much of the evidence used in canceling Covid19 out.  From how it was explained to me, the little covid19 virus' "stick" to the lungs, showing up on the xrays as almost hazy areas (highly encourage further googling of this for one's own sake).  But yet still, precautions were taken.  Nurses/doctors in the hospital used PPE, masks, etc.  I was discharged that it was most likely weakness of lungs due to MS and that if I get worse to travel back to Pittsburgh to be seen by my main neurologist.  (I currently live on the western side of PA but have kept my eastern state side doctors who I had prior to moving here).

After I got home, we took all the precautions of self isolation.  This is also when most of the nation started to turn in.  We live in an apartment; that meant me not touching doors, etc, just to keep anyone from catching whatever infection I had.  My husband takes the dog and I for "walks" (he pushes me in the wheelchair while I hold on to the leash) for fresh air.  We have a balcony where I can get fresh air on nice days.

Like I mentioned above, staying home / self isolation is not something new for me.  It's something I've been doing for 8 years.

But there is something new about this.  The fact my husband is working from home now, with me all the days (goodness, good thing we like each other lol).  That I'm now concerned for the health of our families and loved ones.  That we have to deal with politicians weighing health of the people vs health of the economy, eager to get back to business.

There's so many levels.

This is the summary document - I hope moving forward to just share a brief summary of the days.  I'll be including numbers that I have of the rates just for reference.  I encourage you to do the same as this is an important moment in history.

Stay healthy loves, stay safe.

MS and Relationships

(I wrote this in November 2018 for a third here for valentines day because it still holds true.)

I had had Multiple Sclerosis for 6 months.  It was a hard 6 months, with months of hospital stays and relearning how to walk, talk, use my hands/arms, and navigating a new life.  We all needed a break.

My brothers, dad, and long-time boyfriend had decided to ride the Bike MS: City to Shore ride, that went from Philadelphia area to my childhood home town of Ocean City NJ.  It was a true expression of love as they were to ride over 100 miles in my honor and fight with MS.  

It was a blast of a week and a joyous occasion.  And yet, it also was a realization that I was not getting better - that this MS thing was big, and life consuming. It was a realization of what now was to be real life. And that Sunday, one of the main men in my life, my boyfriend, realized it was just too much and left.  This man, whom I had committed myself to making a life with, someone who I had built a future with, drove away that weekend without me. 

I couldn't blame him, and I still don't today.  Because he fell in love with the career driven, power house of a boss babe.  I wasn’t that girl anymore. I had retired from my career, I was a power house but in overcoming hospital stays not boardrooms, and I literally had to depend on someone for everything.  MS had poisoned what we once had. He left saying “no one will love you as much as I do”. And I believed him because I knew his love for my ran deep; but apparently, not MS deep. 

How do you come out of that?  How do you have the one person that knows everything about you to your core, walk away because of what life has brought upon you, and survive?  

For me, I had to refind my worth.  I spent a long journey finding out who this new me was.  And I had to love this new me: because if I couldn’t love me, then I couldn’t expect anyone else to.  

Once I felt confident and settled in my relationship with myself, and knew what I brought to the table, I decided to give dating a try.  Dating in today’s world is like, an adventure. I was living in a city where I didnt know anyone.  Social life dating was not really an option in meeting someone. So, online dating. Cute right? Ugh. Online dating is hard enough. But when you have a visible disability, it’s even more intense. 

Do I show a picture with the mobility device?  Do I put it last in my pictures? Do I mention it? Do I not say anything and surprise them at first date? Do I tell them after we set up the date?  

There’s a lot to consider.  And I did it all. Mostly as an experiment to see what would be the most engaging.  My research was inclusive. And, let me just say, there are a lot of rude and weird people out there. 

Then there were some good ones too.  One personally that I started a relationship with while I was full time in the wheelchair and undergoing chemotherapy like treatments.  He even survived an unplanned surgery. But our lives were too different to grow anything substantial and I think personally, that’s what made it work.  I didn’t have to ask the question: can you do MS for life? Because I knew there wasn’t a shot at life.  

I dated with decisiveness.  There were no games; I had no energy for games.  I was upfront, I was me, and I didnt play by the rules.  And perhaps that turned off some potentials but it also saved me from kissing a lot of frogs. 

Eventually, I got to the point where I decided I needed to just calm, it, down.  I shut down all my dating apps. I stopped looking for love in a man and instead, just started living.  I started traveling, I started recumbent cycling, I started living a full life just for me.  

And when I saw my future, I saw it with just me.  Not because I thought I didn’t deserve a relationship; but more because, if I'm being honest, I was still bruised from that experience of being told I love you, but not with MS.  I was happily single, but in twisted sort of way.  

This was my mistake: something that I hope by sharing, others can relate to and learn from.  Because telling yourself you are not worthy of love with MS is such nonsense. You are worthy of love NO MATTER WHAT!!  No matter what chronic disease, no matter what scars, no matter what disability. Sure, the dating world may be a little bit more difficult to maneuver.  But you are worthy of love. 

I worked through this myself.  I started to see that MS didnt matter when it came to loving me; what mattered was who I was as a person, how much I loved, what kind of partner I was.  MS was just a thing about me. Granted, a BIG thing, but it wasn’t fully me.  

One June, I was in a wedding.  I was a bridesmaid to one of my childhood friend’s.  That’s where I met him: he was the best man. We had met the summer before but that night, the night of the wedding, it was something out of a fairy tale, if you believe in those.  We exchanged numbers (and really, if I can be cheesy, we exchanged hearts) and we have talked and been together every day since.  

This man only knows the MS me: and he loves it.  Not just like “I love you” loves it, but supports it, engages it, and honestly, if I can gloat a bit, is almost in awe of it.  He sees my power, he sees my strength, and he sees my gifts. He supports me, both in my health endeavors and basic life endeavors, and yet doesn’t treat me like a patient.  He just treats me like me.  

The first time I asked him, “are you ok with a life with MS”, his response was simple “if it’s with you, why wouldn’t I be?”.  MS was always part of that package and he signed up for all of it.  

Dating someone with a chronic disease like Multiple Sclerosis isn’t always a breeze; it’s unique.  We both know that I’m going to need more special assistance. We both know that I’m going to require more adaptations and flexibility.  And yet, we both know that I can provide him with the emotional support and strength he may require. We both know that I can make him laugh.  We both know that no matter what the day brings, good or bad, our favorite thing to do is just to be together. And this can be done on even the worst day or the best day: we can be together.  

In October of this year, my love asked me to be his forever coffee date.  We are planning our next chapter of our love story now, a wedding in 2019, and it’s all beautiful.  All the past relationships: the good, the bad, the ugly, the really ugly...they all led me to this. They all led me to him.  And it is good.

We're Cool for the Summer - Koldtec Ice Towels

It's no secret that I have an obsession with Koldtec ice towels.  

In fact, it is my personal goal to help every person on instagram that has MS or heat sensitivity to at least hear of Koldtec by the end of the summer.  I believe in the product that highly. 

And Koldtec loves our community. 

The partnership is really great.

In honor of summer and the heat, koldtec and I are doing a summer of kool.  

On the first of each month from May through September I will be hosting a giveaway for a Koldtec towel bundle.  Entering is, as always, super easy.  Keeping it basic over here.

In addition, Koldtec has provided me with two codes specifically for my friends.

code SPARKLEDICE5 is for the ice towel found here.  The code will provide $5 off, a bonus ice strip, and free shipping for USA and Canada (they ship elsewhere for a small fee!).  Direct url:

code SPARKLEDICE14 is for the ice towel bundle found here.  The code will provide $14 off, a bonus ice strip, and free shipping for USA and Canada (again, they ship elsewhere for a small fee). Direct link:

I do have a video on my IGTV on my instagram (@thesparkledlife) with more information and how it works.  

Basically Koldtec ice towels are a bamboo sport towel that you insert specially made engineered ice strips in to.  It isnt wet and each strip of ice lasts 45 minutes - 1 hour.  (I use these on my bicycle rides and legit, I can be sweating and the ice strip will last me 1 hour!!).  The contained the towel and the strips come in works as an insulator so you can take the bonus ice strips on the road with you.  

It's perfect for any occasion - I even used it getting ready for my wedding!  

Stay tuned for more koolness and I hope you have as much fun as I do being chill!

Love, Eliz

Shit Just Got Real!!!

We got Married!!!!

It was such an amazing weekend and I'm so excited to give a little update.  

So Kris and I got engaged in October.  We didnt really plan on having a "short"engagement - but it's how it worked out.  When I came to both him and my mom and asked if we could pull off a wedding in less than 5 months, they just smiled and said "whatever you want babes" (ok lying my mom panicked).  

But we did it!!!

Just a comment on the short engagement (as I've received some comments -  no I'm not pregnant) - you can do WHATEVER time engagement you want!  If you want long, if you want short, if you want traditional, if you want elopement, do you!!  It doesnt matter.  What matters is that you are intentional and marrying someone you want to love forever.  The rest are literally just details. 

Ok, so now we're engaged, now we've set a date, now we have to make it MS friendly.

We decided on spreading it out - doing a two day event.  Friday would be the ceremony (intimate with family and close friends) and Saturday would be an evening reception (a partay).  

And that's what we did!

So first, we have some details:

Save the Dates (from Zazzle)

And the wedding website

We didnt have a traditional rehearsal as most of the wedding party was coming in from out of town (actually most all of our guests are coming in from out of town - like 80%).  So we did a small rehearsal at the church, people chilled for a bit (I took a nap), and then we went to Spoonwood Brewery with those in town for a fun dinner and beer.

As you can tell from the picture I was VERY excited. (:  

Friday morning came real quick - our ceremony was at 11am so we had just a few hours to get ready (if you've been in a wedding you know those hours go fast!).  But it was so enjoyable and chill.  Everything was chill overall but those few hours before the ceremony I will cherish as being so calm and chill.  Shout-out to my ladies for that vibe!!

 Picture credit:

The ceremony was at my family's Catholic Church in Pittsburgh.  We had just the ceremony and we made it very adaptive friendly (I came from the side, we sat for most of it, etc).  It flew by but I do remember the highlights - I remember Kris smiling bigger than Id ever seen, him squeezing my hand, me almost losing it at the "in sickness and in health part", and me doing like a little wiggle celebration when we got the official "husband and wife".

After we did pictures with family and the wedding party at a friends house.  Our photographer was AMAZING! Love him, Ryan Zarichnak.  Cant wait to share those!

 Our wedding party included: Girls: Courtney (matron of honor and my sister), Regina, (maid of honor and best friend), Kari (Kris' sister), Katie (future sister in law), Bethany (best friend), Mary (best friend).  Dudes: Jordan (best man), Jon (Kris' brother in law), Tim (my brother), Connor (my brother), Kevin (my brother), John (my brother).  

Then we had a luncheon at my parent's house.  My mom did such an amazing job hosting and preparing the food.  All I heard was how great the food was and I'm like, I know. (:

The best part of this arrangement is that we had scheduled NAP TIME!!!  We were done with wedding obligations by 3pm on Friday.  I was in bed and didnt leave till we woke up Saturday.  Best decision ever!!!

Saturday was PARTAY time!!!  Again, we had time to relax and chill and visit before getting ready.  I will cherish this time too.  My best friend Zach did my hair and while doing it some of my favorite people just stopped by and said hi and sat with me.  It was lovely.  I had to do NOTHING which is just what I needed.

The reception's theme was glitz and sparkle, with the colors black and gold sparkle.  My mom did all the decorations, favors, centerpieces...and she delivered!!  Literally, thank you mom!  Saturday was just lovely.  One of my favorite parts was my dress (it was sparkle heaven!!!) and then partying with all our family and friends.

The food was delicious (PW catering) and the DJ's (2nd II None) - I could never speak enough about them.  They led a party and it was fabulous!!  

Oh and let's not forget about the cookie table - a very strong Pittsburgh tradition.  Basically all the neighbors/family/friends bring cookies and the are displayed on a table.  To go boxes are provided and guests can snack on them there and take some home for leftovers/breakfast.  It's an amazing tradition and we had QUITE a lot of cookies!

We also had soft pretzels delivered halfway through the evening (soft pretzels are my favorite and what better way to have a snack?)

Oh the whole thing was just lovely.  This is just the speed by review - when we get the photos I'll provide more details.  Because I just know the photo's are going to be amazing!!

The moral though of this whole thing is that love is beautiful, you can have a beautiful wedding with multiple sclerosis, and you can do your wedding any way you want!!!  

Thank you all for your support and love, we so appreciate the love!!!