Author Archives: Lelainia Lloyd

Thoughts on Being a Disabled Grandparent

In early April, I became a grandmother (Gigi) for the first time. Reaching this important milestone gave me pause. In the months leading up to the baby’s birth, I thought a lot about what kind of grandmother I would be. Phoenyx was born just 16 days after my 50th birthday,…

The Long and Winding Road to Mobility

My quest to become a wheelchair owner and user began with pitching the idea to members of my care team. As I shared in my last column, that didn’t go as smoothly as I’d hoped. But being persistent paid off when one of my doctors stepped up and…

Encountering Ableism in Healthcare

When I was being diagnosed, my initial MRI revealed that I had long lesions over several sections of my spinal cord. While I knew nothing about the disease I was about to be diagnosed with, I understood that any damage to my spinal cord was bad news. It meant I…

Chronic Pain: The Elephant in the Room

One of the most difficult aspects for me of living with neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is dealing with chronic pain. It’s what most affects my quality of life, but in my opinion, it’s also the least addressed and treated issue. In 2012,…

The Struggle Is Real: How I Cope With Patient Burnout

In my circle of friends, we often joke that being a rare disease or chronic illness patient is a full-time job. For me, living with not just neuromyelitis optica (NMO), but also several other life-altering diseases that require constant treatment, takes a lot of energy. I must attend numerous appointments…

Pharmacists Are the Backbone of My Care Team

As a rare disease patient living with neuromyelitis optica (NMO), I take an enormous number of medications. I have pills for blood pressure, steroid pills to suppress my immune system, and pills to protect my stomach from the side effects of the steroids. I also take a handful…

For NMOSD Awareness Month, Let’s Separate Fact From Fiction

In the United States, March is Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Awareness Month, but did you know it’s also Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO) Awareness Month? NMO patients are most frequently misdiagnosed with MS, as these two diseases can look quite similar, so awareness is key. Let’s separate some facts from fiction. “NMO is…