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Make It Work

My family takes a week long cruise every two years during Thanksgiving. I myself have gone three times in the past but never with my husband and certainly never in my present state. So it was the first time for both of us in many ways. He has never been on a cruise of any kind. I have never been since my diagnosis has tainted me physically. So, it was bitter sweet.

For my husband I could understand the 10 years it took him to finally agree to join us. First off, it is basically all my friends and family. That means most importantly his in-laws including his father-in-law (my father). Secondly, to make matters worse, my poor hubby was sea sick the majority of the cruise. Remember, it was a SEVEN-day voyage. I should have known it was going to be rough for him because he can barely stomach flying!

As for me, it was challenging viewing a world I use to be an active part of. Many of the activities offered on board that interested me really didn’t accommodate me. Also they only offered two wheelchair accessible excursions at the three ports of call we stopped at.

Still it was nice to be catered to. It was welcoming to be surrounded by family. It was great that for once hubby wasn’t totally responsible for the cooking and cleaning. Also we still participated in many activities despite the accommodation hurdles.

It was scary yet invigorating to step out of my comfort zone and to revisit an old pastime yet in a different way. Because of my fatigue it was exhausting trying to keep up with everyone else…but I did. We did!

I’m so proud we made it work and had a good time.

39 thoughts on “Make It Work”
  1. My Odd Sock 7 December, 2012on8:45 AM Reply

    Glad you had a good time.
    We went on a cruise last year (RC). I was surprised how accomodating the ship was to my trusted steed (my wheelchair).
    Even the side trips were accessible.
    Too bad about your hubby’s sea sickness–what a rotten way to spend on a cruise!

    • Nicole Lemelle 9 December, 2012on4:19 PM Reply


      Thanks, I’m just getting back to normal.

  2. Priscilla 6 December, 2012on5:26 PM Reply

    Welcome back. And thanks for sharing your experience and pictures. You and your husband are a beautiful couple.

  3. life well lived 6 December, 2012on8:25 AM Reply

    It looks like you had a lot of fun. My family is planning a trip to Jamaica, and I hope we wear the smiles I see in your pictures and read in your post for most of our trip. We’re hoping to get the respite you described for your husband staying at an all inclusive resort with a nanny.

    So truth, which was harder going outside your normal bounds or coming back?

    • Nicole Lemelle 6 December, 2012on1:58 PM Reply

      well lived, Good question but coming back wins.

  4. Olivia 5 December, 2012on4:55 PM Reply

    You look gorgeous by the ocean!! You go girl!!! Xoxo olivia

  5. Tim 4 December, 2012on11:11 PM Reply

    Hey Nicole so glad you could experience a new norm! Every day with MS can be a challenge and or adventure so we do just have to make it work. Cruising Alaska might help your husband if he’s up for round 2. Little or no open ocean cruising so much easier on those prone to sea sickness and you can see most sights from the ship, especially Glacier Bay! Hope you’re recharged and appreciate your work as always. Keep on keeping on!


    • Nicole Lemelle 5 December, 2012on5:46 PM Reply

      Tim, Thanks. You are the second person to tell me about cruising Alaska. I doubt Tommy would give it a try though!

      • Tim 11 December, 2012on3:12 PM Reply

        They actually do an MS cruise there annually if I’m not mistaken.

  6. Janis 4 December, 2012on7:20 PM Reply

    I LOVE that you went on the cruise! I am at this point still walking without a cane/wheelchair, but I am pregnant right now for the third time with MS and not that I expect to be soon, but it is for me a VERY REAL and terrifying possibility. I will in May have a 13, 7, 5, and a newborn! OH LORD HELP ME! LOL! I really admire you and it is so inspiring to read the est you are living thru and not hiding from this disease!!
    Thank you so much!!

    • Nicole Lemelle 4 December, 2012on8:36 PM Reply


      I certainly can’t hide from the disease now, but I did try when I could! Congratulations and good luck to ya!

  7. Mary 4 December, 2012on4:08 PM Reply

    Love your pictures! Look like you had a good time. So far I only use a cane sometimes. How can we bring awareness to other countries for people in wheelchair? Two years ago I went to Seoul Korea and could not find anything that was
    wheelchair accessible.

    • Nicole Lemelle 4 December, 2012on5:16 PM Reply

      Mary, Thanks for commenting. I honestly have no idea how to bring awareness to other countries. Maybe the MS society does and I know there is an international organization as well.

  8. LUCILLE LYNN HOBBS 4 December, 2012on1:30 PM Reply


    • Nicole Lemelle 4 December, 2012on5:18 PM Reply

      LUCILLE, Thanks. Now I can’t wait to hear about your trip!

  9. Janet Sprinkle 4 December, 2012on1:26 PM Reply

    You look radiant and your dashing husband looked like he was having a good time (despite the sea sickeness). Kudos to you both for trying to make this “a new normal”, and joining in family activities!

  10. Kaz Laljee 4 December, 2012on1:17 PM Reply

    Great to hear that you enjoyed ur cruise… I was pleaseantly surprised there were too two accessible excursions… I didn’t think they would even cater for one. Great pics.

    Would love to hear more with regards accessibility of ship, how good staff were etc etc.

    Thanks for posting

    • Nicole Lemelle 4 December, 2012on1:24 PM Reply

      Kaz, the ship Of Royal Carribean was very accessible and my cabin and floor was nice and wide. I hear the new ships are more accommodating then the older ones. The staff was great, my cabin attendant even brought me a sharps container once he saw that I was using needles. OF course they do work off mandatory gratitudity so I did expect the best.

    • KIM 4 December, 2012on1:45 PM Reply

      Kaz…We also went on RC cruise line & they/it were wonderful. We splurged & got an owners suite w/balconey with a huge bathroom. It was wonderful! No proble ms whatsoever with accomodating my scooter; in the resturants, hallways, dining or our suite. I highly reccomend it! It is SOMETHING we as MS’RS can actually enjoy!

  11. KIM 4 December, 2012on1:09 PM Reply

    So glad you did a cruise! we did a 9 day cruise 5/2011 & it was fantastic. We went by ourselves and yes it is nice to be catered too. Everyone on board was very accomodating to my needs. You didn’t take your scooter I see; I did & it worked out wonderfully. I would like to do a cruise again in abt 2 yrs. You & your husband look very nice together. Sorry to hear he was seasick. Welcome back!

    • Nicole Lemelle 4 December, 2012on1:27 PM Reply

      Kim, Thanks. I did use my scooter in board just not when we docked.

  12. LaurieHanan 4 December, 2012on12:20 PM Reply

    How wonderful to go on a cruise with your extended family! Great that you had other people looking after you so Hubby could take a break and enjoy himself (when he wasn’t puking). At least cruise ships more or less make accommodations for the handicapped. There seem to be more than the average number of handicapped vs. ambulatory people on cruises.

    Although my cruise on Princess was something of a nightmare. Even though I had an accessible cabin, the hallways were too narrow for a wheelchair to negotiate past the service carts that were always parked there. My scooter just made it, scraping on both sides. People in wheelchairs actually had to get out of them and fold them up to get down the hallways. Some people had to be carried. so much for independence. My scooter wouldn’t get through doorways, or up and down the gangplank. I had to stand so the workers could carry it over the obstacles. The pools also were not handicap accessible, and swimming is a very important part of my fitness routine. Okay – it’s the only part.

    NCL had slightly better facilities, though my scooter still had to be lifted on and off the gangplank, and through doorways. There just wasn’t enough clearance.

    Like your husband, I get serious motion sickness. It takes almost nothing. But I sail often, with the use of the patches. They really work!

    • Nicole Lemelle 4 December, 2012on5:23 PM Reply

      Laurie, Thats good to know about the patches. It sounds like you do this a lot.

  13. Muff 4 December, 2012on10:27 AM Reply

    Looks like you had a great time — good for you! I can’t imagine doing a cruise now, so I admire your bravery! Sorry your husband couldn’t find his sea legs!

  14. Andrea 4 December, 2012on9:04 AM Reply

    Dearest Nicole….I got all choked up reading your post today. I am SO PROUD of you girl!!
    I am having the third worse flair up in 24 years and just finished my 5th day of good old solumedrol yesterday. It’s been crazy trying to get better and rest with a 13, 6 and 8 month old. But this is about you and how awesome and brave you are. You are definitely living with this disease and pushing the boundaries inflicted upon you. A inspiration….an advocate for all of with MS….an educator…..a compassionate and kind friend……a great listener…a Hero….a Best Friend….just some of the things you are to me. I’m amazed you went on a 7 day cruise and totally left your comfort zone. It’s very hard to do what you did
    and I know you are so happy for all the memories!! Love you dear friend

    • Nicole Lemelle 4 December, 2012on5:27 PM Reply

      Andrea, It’s hard to believe yo have three children! I hope the recent steroids did the trick.

  15. April 4 December, 2012on7:01 AM Reply

    My hat is off to you Nicole for going on the trip. You looked past the negative things and went forward. Glad you had a good time.

  16. Lisa H 4 December, 2012on3:48 AM Reply

    Nicole, I am thrilled you had such an adventure. I have been on two cruises and both made me feel like a queen. I am hoping someday to go on another one. Your smile says it all. What a wonderful escape.

    • Nicole Lemelle 9 December, 2012on4:24 PM Reply

      Lisa, Yes, it was fun but don’t think we’ll be back!

  17. Kim C 4 December, 2012on12:24 AM Reply

    Good for you, girl. We, the hubby and I, did exactly the same in Sept. Not only has cruising been an activity for us before MS, but while on a break from nursing, I was a travel agent and escorted my groups. Yea, doing it with MS was different for sure….bitter and sweet. Bitter because I did not enjoy it the same way I used to and sweet because I know I can do it and don’t have to scratch it off the list. New normals, like it or not.

  18. Qiana Ross 4 December, 2012on12:13 AM Reply

    Wow Nicole now I want to venture out. That is awesome. Looks like you had fun despite it all. Take that MS. So proud of you.

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