As a Multiple Sclerosis patient, it has become necessary for me to reinvent myself. I have ... and continue to ... refuse to lie down and die, or in this case, follow the normally prescribed drugs and treatments that do nothing to defeat my disease. I am not only surviving by pursuing alternatives, I am thriving. I do the things specialists told me I would never be able to do. I walk and hope to one day even run regularly. I retain my cognitive and creative abilities for the pleasure of my readers. Although you may never see me on my daily walk, you are welcome to read my novel(s) and in doing so, come to ask yourself, "How can the 'out of the box' protocol she has followed, help my loved one with an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis?"

Shovel Sledding

Dedcated to my brother
Byline June Bridger

As a kid I didn't know we were poor. We made due with what we had and on a winter day when my brother was given the responsibility of watching his little sister we didn't dare return to the house for fear of being told we couldn't go back out or worse, getting in trouble for what we found to keep us busy.
I remember dragging the little red sleigh over to grandpa's, where the animals were, right on my brother's heals.  Well, it started out that way, his legs were a lot longer than mine so I kinda, sorta just followed his tracks in the snow. When I finally caught up to him, he was busy shoveling rotting potatoes to the pigs. I hung back knowing the one sow had been wild and also being warned that she would eat me if given the chance. Not sure whether that was true or not.
While waiting for him to finish his job, I decided the hill nearby that had once been the river bank looked good for sledding. Red sled runners sink in fresh snow. It didn't go well.
I don't know if my brother found my dismal flop at sledding the hill humorous or not. I do recall following him to the spud cellar for the next load of pig fodder. The old spud cellar was built in the old river bed and nearby I noticed smooth slick looking tracks on the old river bank. When I asked my brother about it, he admitted that his "chore" was taking much longer because well--he was using his shovel as a sled. I obviously wanted to see him do it. So, with me standing in the river bed, he scampered up the far side a few yards away carrying his shovel. Now let me explain that this is no garden shovel. This is a shovel used to move loose coal and fill coal furnace hoppers. It could also be used to carry fifteen to twenty pounds of rotting spuds from the cellar to the pigs.  Imagine it big enough for a grown man to place his feet on without touching any other surface. My brother stepped onto the shovel and gracefully rode it down the bank and to about three feet from me.
He made it look so easy! I begged for him to let me try it. I must have begged him the whole time he carried another shovel full of rotting potatoes to the pigs and you know I wanted it bad 'cause rotting spuds stink. At last he agreed to teach me how to ride the shovel. Mind you there is a trick involved in riding a shovel down a one hundred and twenty degree angle. A trick he didn't bother to share with me until I had performed a somersault face plant.
The trick is a combination of standing on the balls of your feet, in snow boots, and balancing as the shovel moves down the slope at enough speed to give the rider a thrill. It took me most of the afternoon to master even once but on that day my big brother was no longer one of the teasing goonies but my hero and very best friend.

I went back to do more sledding a few days later when my brother couldn't go with me. The shovel had disappeared. The sled runs were still present but the shovel wasn't in the cellar as my brother had left it. Leaves one to wonder if Dad or Grandpa saw the snow runs and face plant prints and didn't like the idea of a six-year-old girl learning to shovel sled.
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