Sunday, April 11, 2010

Preparing for Liberation - One Way

I know, it sounds like I'm going to write about travel details (what I intend to pack and so on), but that's not what I mean by "Preparing for Liberation".  I'm talking about trying to stay in shape so that if you are liberated and you start to see improvements in such things as balance, mobility and energy levels, you have the muscle tone, strength and endurance to be able to take maximum advantage of that.

I work out at the gym about an hour every day and have done that for several years now.  Until last December I was doing it only in the hopes of delaying the effects of the disease a bit or just better coping with my disability.  I have to tell you, it was darn hard to keep going to the gym every day with the main goal only being to keep from going downhill faster.  As it was, I had to stop working out on the treadmill (too dangerous) and I can no longer do 20 minutes straight on the elliptical machine.  My weights haven't changed as much, but after all this work-out time they haven't gone up, either, and I can certainly tell that my left side is way weaker than my right.  At the suggestion of a physiotherapist, I started doing some ball core work and increased my stretching.  Even with all that, I came to find out from my physio last week that my left hamstring is very weak: I could hardly lift my leg.  My quads and other muscles are pretty good (considering), but I have to work on my left hamstring because the way I "hobble" now when I walk doesn't make that muscle work.

But this is my point: now that there is a chance that I'll be liberated, I'm SO glad that I kept up my workouts and visits to the physiotherapists.  So here is my advice to everyone with MS:

  1. Don't give up hope.  CCSVI may not be ALL of the answer, but I'm sure it's part of it.
  2. Keep in shape.  Keeping in shape doesn't stop progress of the disease, but it helps you cope and also gets you ready to start making improvements once you've been liberated.
  3. Use the services of a physiotherapist, one who either knows how to work with MSers or is willing to learn.  A physiotherapist will help you to figure out to use your limited energy to your best advantage as you work to keep in the best shape you can be for "liberation day".
It's never too late to start.

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