Multiple Sclerosis is an autoimmune disease (or chronic challenge) of the central nervous system. That ought to tell you that the immune system is already hyped up and “psychotic”, so why on earth would you want to boost it even more?
When I was first diagnosed with MS in August 1996, I was relieved because I knew what I was suffering from had a name. My neurologist told me I had relapsing-remitting MS and that I could be treated favorably with Avonex, Betaserone or Copaxone and maintain a quality of life.
What he didn’t inform me of is that MS is a stubborn, chronic SOB that just doesn’t give up. Oh, it hides on you once in a while, slips into a dormant state, but it returns with a vengeance and knocks you on your ass. After enough of these episodes, I suddenly realized I was getting older, more fragile and spastic, that is, my legs didn’t function as well as they once had. I walked like I was drunk, tripping over my feet. My legs felt progressively heavier and heavier, like I had balls and chains around my ankles.
Now it’s April 2008, my knees don’t lock automatically all the time, so I’m prone to buckling and falling and getting hurt. As a safety net, I invested in a walker and one of those spiffy looking scooter chairs that takes me around in style. I no longer have to worry about falling while carrying dishes or glasses. I also bought a stair glide so I could get up to the bedroom level safely.
What I had learned in the dozen years since my affirmative diagnosis is that MS is a major league disease which can cause a lot of damage. There is quite a bit of pain associated with it, mainly in the joints. Also, MS, more often than not, will advance from relapsing-remitting to secondary progressive.
It’s not a death sentence, but it can sap a lot of energy out of you. For me, now that I am more educated on this disease process, I find that exercise and working the major muscle groups is beneficial to one’s quality of life. Thus, I go swimming once a week and weight training weekly. This is imperative to maintain as much range of motion as possible. Exercising under water is phenomenal in that you can strengthen your core, lower back, quadriceps, hamstrings, knees, etc. without the fear of falling.
With MS, you want to keep the immune system as under control and stress free as possible. If you are prone to hypertension, take a prescribed blood pressure medication. At all costs, refrain from shouting, yelling and temper tantrums. Stay positive, work the muscle groups.
Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. You want to keep as much range of motion as possible in the event modern medicine comes up with something for those that ail.
“Hey, you never no!”