Instant gradualism…

changeWhat I have noticed with my MS is that drastic changes are unacceptable, and slow evolution is required. As the season begins to change from fall to winter, the temperature starts to drop, and life becomes more difficult for me and my MS compadres. The climate is a challenge for me because here in Columbus, Ohio, the season swiftly switches, causing difficulties in the bodies of MSers. This trouble is the reason that we MS sufferers make lethargic movements that resemble a sloth at nap-time. Sadly it is more of a difficult challenge and can even be painful as well as exhausting for those of us who are stricken with MS. Let me explain to help you understand some of the struggles of the MS sufferers.

Five years ago, I needed Provigil, a particularly pricey prescription to help me stay awake as my muscle relaxer makes me sleepy. This calming muscle medication called Baclofen helps to relax my leg muscles that often jump like two caffeinated puppies. The more of this antispasmodic agent that I take, the more that the sandman comes pounding on my door like a landlord to whom I owe rent. I needed so much of this medication that the only way to stay awake was to take the stimulant called Provigil.

cycleThe longer that you take Provigil, the less effective it becomes requiring you to take more of it, costing even more money. It is a mind-boggling ballgame because one medication led to the need for a new prescription and requiring more of the first medication. This screwball cycle has a domino effect that many MSers and other medical patients nation-wide know all too well.

I was able to end this diabolical drug dissolution by changing my physical activity level. This evolution of my fitness needed to happen very slowly as not to anger my multiple sclerosis laden body. In the beginning, I moved slower than a herd of turtles stampeding through peanut butter as going too fast would quickly put my body in a heated argument with itself. For the first twelve months, I completed minor pool leg exercises avoiding at all costs the dreaded too much title. Gradually I began to add more to my fitness training routine to include movements that did not cross the line of excessive.

I am now able to swim for three hours periodically punctuated with a time of rest. This change was at a sloths pace happening over three years, allowing my body to adapt to its new lifestyle. Before my exercise regimen started so long ago, I had a physical therapy session at my home that made me nearly bedridden for almost two days. All of this proves to me that we MSers might be able to do a little more than we think that we can, although we fear all of the negative consequences. If we start unbelievably slow and continually move our bodies at this pace all for a year, we can fight the inevitability of MS complications.

Temperature is another one of the bitter battles that we multiple sclerosis patients deal with regularly. This challenge can be as simple as a slight temperature change that causes quick lightheadedness and nothing else. On the other hand, this difficulty can create a whirlwind of physical struggles that can make your muscles weak for several days. With multiple sclerosis, I heard it once said that the word multiple is the most crucial aspect of understanding MS. This confusion is because any number of MSers can have any number of symptoms and makes comparing competitions that are superfluous.

thermoSeveral summers ago, I needed to have the thermostat in my house set at sixty-nine degrees. My multiple sclerosis riddled body would wreak vengeance and viciously retaliate if the temperature fluctuated. Even a slight one degree higher or lower temperature in my house and physical difficulties would ensue making transfers without falls an unlikely reality. During that entire season, my movements were nearly halted, making any life outside the home an inconceivable impossibility.

As the next summer began, my A/C unit died, forcing me to acclimate to warming temperatures that frequently fluctuated. I sat in this warmth for nearly two days, and when the air conditioner was finally fixed, my number was no longer sixty-nine but an astonishing seventy-five. The rest of that season had very few negative heat impact days that put me out of operation for any length of time. Dealing with degrees in the upper register of the thermometer was mostly a painless endeavor. It was no longer a threat to contemplate going outside and no more strategic movements when considering traversing out of the home.

adapt an overcomeLife is extremely different from my early days of multiple sclerosis and its significantly unfavorable impacts. I used to sit motionless fearful of body agitations and worried that making any sudden movements would cause MS to strike like a cornered badger. I am in this wheelchair because I did not move enough, causing my body to deteriorate past the point of no return. All of that being said, we MSers cannot handle extremely expeditious evolution in anything such as temperature and fitness. Now that we move slower, we require and desire any change to be moderately mundane so that our bodies can adapt to life’s alterations.

The only constant in life is change, so make it work for you.

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