World MS Day

Hey everyone,

Today is World MS Day. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that attacks the myelin sheath of the brain and spinal cord. The symptoms can vary wildly from patient to patient but can include dizziness, fatigue, vision loss, pain, coordination impairment, cognitive impairment, spasms, and a lot more.

Canada has the highest rate of MS in the world! Remember to be kind, because you never know what someone is dealing with. For 1 in 340 Canadians, that’s MS. This is another condition with no cure, and a clear need for consistent, effective treatments.

Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

World MS Day



Canadian Veterans’ Medication Slash

Canada’s Veterans Affairs Minister The Honourable Kent Hehr has proposed restricting veterans access to medical marijuana by cutting funding and the amount available in a prescription. In the proposed changes, veterans will be restricted to 3 grams a day compared to 10 grams as well as a cost per gram restriction, maxing out at $8.50/ gram. Medical marijuana purchased under the relatively new Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR) must be obtained from a Licensed Producer (LP). These LPs charge a maximum of $15/ gram. I personally find these strains to be more efficient, and more therapeutic as they often include the high CBD and high THC strains. [If you aren’t sure about what these components of cannabis mean, check out this pretty decent description of THC vs. CBD.]

So not only is our Minister restricting the amount but also essentially restricting the quality of meds veterans have access to, especially with our current structure of LPs. Please check out my whole post, I have many sources and comments on many different levels of this (currently) Canadian issue…Read More »

Recovering Happily

As I made a big fuss about earlier this week, I had a meeting with my MLA to discuss my case, and chronic pain in Alberta. The meeting was on Wednesday, August 17th with Calgary-Glenmore MLA Anam Kazim. I was allotted an hour, and ended up staying and discussing my case for an additional 20 or so minutes. My legendary mom Tobe transported me and joined in. Tobe also really helped me edit everything before! ❤

I am still really recovering from this meeting, as it took a lot out of me. I may add more to this, and re-share the edits at a later date. Read more to hear about my meeting summary and impressions…Read More »

660 News Coverage on CRPS and Chronic Pain in Alberta

A wonderful ally of the chronic pain community approached me about doing an interview on chronic pain, after I had posted yet another update on Facebook detailing my struggles. I am ecstatic to see Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, and the chronic pain problem in Alberta getting press. I hope this leads to more.

Kendra Fowler, of 660 News reports, “Chronic pain sufferer to appeal for help from MLA”.Read Kendra Fowler’s article HERE.

You can also access the clips from the radio report:

Kendra Fowler interviewing Zara Pickel, Clip 1

Kendra Fowler interviewing Zara Pickel, Clip 2

Kendra Fowler interviewing Zara Pickel, Clip 3

Thank you all for reading, listening, and sharing!

Zara ❤


Without Art, Earth is just ‘Eh’!

I am very, very excited about this! I just found an art installation done by Eugenie Lee, a Korean artist who works in mixed media to converse about health, chronic pain, and illness. Lee’s piece was done in collaboration with Body in Mind, a research++ organization from the University of South Australia, and spearheaded by chronic pain expert Lorimer Moseley.

This piece is called McGill Pain Questionnaire, by Eugeine Lee from 2012. Please visit the external link to the artist’s website.

Still photo of McGill Pain Questionnaire

McGill Pain Questionnaire in motion

Art is an amazing way of expressing oneself, and art means something different to everyone. I was always taught that creative outlets could help me express how I feel, and expand how I think about things, while soothing the soul letting my brain dream up whatever. I am so thrilled to find some art pieces about chronic pain, and more specifically with a university and researcher I believe are world class in the ongoing battle against chronic pain.

Now- how do I feel about this piece? Please take a look at it before you read on…Read More »

Great Canadian Waiting Game

Many people in other countries are jealous of our health care system. Justifiably so, as we can get proper care in times of emergency. However, CRPS has opened my eyes to the drawbacks of a system where we focus our resources to meet the needs of the majority of the population. For people with chronic conditions like us, our lack of an integrated system nation-wide (shit, even province-wide would be nice) create issues that can sometimes cause a medical professional to question things you never thought would be in question. I personally saw about a dozen doctors before I was diagnosed. Before I was put on some medications, it wasn’t as much of a problem. When I needed painkillers though, my historical plethora of doctors was called into question consistently. I was lucky to not be called crazy to my face, as many in the undiagnosed stages of this condition are, but I was never sure if anyone believed me fully.

To illustrate how a chronic pain patient such as myself gets put through the ringer of a system to get treatment, please try and follow along…Read More »