Thursday, April 12, 2012

New therapies give hope to those living with MS

The was actually written by 4 people, although in publication, it says I wrote it. It's great how we have new therapies. But there still is no cure for MS. The MS Walk/Roll/Combo is coming up (May 5 in Denver) and YOU can donate to help end this disease. I am walking better but am not cured. Until we can stop this disease, funding efforts will not end. Besides searching for the cure, the MS Society works with people with MS. I'm trying to get a grant from them for the new Bioness I am trying. Their President, Vice President, and many more have helped me this year. So to donate (or join the team),

Please, please, please...

and now the article which is in the spring edition of "Connections," by the CO MS Society...

Two weeks after our high school cross country team won the State championship, I woke up feeling like both my legs were tingling. Three years later, I was diagnosed with MS and had to give up competitive running. That was 19 years ago.

Though I don't run now, I stay very active and am always aware of the latest research developments. I am a Walk MS Team Captain for the team "May You Dance." The money raised is critical to fund research for MS therapies like Ampyra, a newer, oral symptom medication that helps people like me walk.

Before starting Ampyra, I could only walk 50 feet without stopping. After closely following the results of clinical trials and hearing of Ampyra's FDA approval, I talked with my rehabilitation physician and began taking it. After four months on Ampyra, I went to a track near my home and finished a full, daunting lap, using my walker and taking six rest breaks in an hour.

Physical therapy (PT) is also critical to my success - I didn't just swallow a pill and hope for the best. My physical therapist teaches me exercises and stretches, and introduced me to a gait-assisted treadmill, which holds my upper body in place while I walk.

Like a baby discovering how body parts work together, I have discovered that if I think and believe in myself, body parts are working together again. If one foot starts sliding into what used to be a certain fall, I can concentrate and it will move back. If my walker goes too fast, I can concentrate and pull it back. It's not automatic.

Ampyra and extensive daily PT has helped me rebuild strength and endurance in my legs and core, which also has helped with my balance. In January, I walked around the track in only 20 minutes, with no stops to rest.

If you are considering any new treatment, push yourself; test limits. Each treatment works differently for everyone. Before Ampyra, I Kept walking as much as I could. Now I walk more, but I can also play catch and frisbee with my daughter and husband, button my clothes more easily, and sit straight. Rather than limits, I see possibilities.

We can all contribute what we can toward this cause, be it money, time, or service. It's really up to us. May we all dance.


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