A lesson on Movement…

Because I was a life-long athlete before the MS diagnosis, movement was a critical part of my life. Now I’m learning its my greatest weapon for fighting off the negative symptoms of MS.


 I went to the movies with my husband last night. It was a good one too. I was on the edge of my seat for half of the movie. I was totally amazed by the fight scenes and cinematography. When it was over, my husband got up to leave but I couldn’t. I tried to get up but it wasn’t happening. My husband grabbed my hand to help me up. I gave it the ‘ol college try’ and diverted all power to getting up. As I did, I realized that in that 2+ hour time frame, my muscles had gotten so stiff I simply couldn’t move.


Once I stood up, the tremors in my hand came full throttle. I hate when the tremors come. Because it’s a constant sign that the battle isn’t over. My husband squeezed my hand, pulled me close and whispered to me “breathe, baby breathe” over and over.  Deep breathing helps to calm me down, bring my thoughts to the body part that is out of control, and begin the process of stopping the tremors and regaining control.


We stood there for a number of minutes.  It felt like an eternity, but it wasn’t. Thank God my husband is calm and efficient in dealing with me when things aren’t ‘quite right’. As we began to move, I could feel the blood flowing in my leg muscles. I could feel the ‘neural handshake’ that they talked about in the movie we had just seen. The more I breathed and forced movement, the more control I regained.


Yes, I walked stiffly and slowly, but I was moving. By the time we got to the restrooms, I was okay. My bladder hadn’t emptied on me thank God, so I wasn’t in a panic. I was back in control. When I rejoined my husband I told him that movement was my weapon at every point in my life. I told him that if I had simply remained in that state of stiffness and rigidity of muscles I could have been there for the rest of my life. Lots of MS patients do this. You stop at the point of pain and discomfort and refuse to move forward and it only gets worse. I can’t stop running and moving for this reason.


I realized that this is why I keep moving. This is why I push myself to workout 3-5 times per week. This is why I’m preparing for masters level sprint competition in my late 40’s. This is why I get upset when I can’t exercise. Because when I exercise, I’m in control of my body. When I engage in movement, I am in control of my body. And that is how I fight MS. I move.


Whether you’ve been an athlete before or not is irrelevant. Like any other aspect of life, you take what you see works for others, make it your own and make it work for you. Movement is the key. Get moving, get active and start experiencing the difference!


Nancy Thomas

Thriving In Denial CEO/Founder/MS Coach

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