Categories
Fitness Foot drop Health and Wellness Movement Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms / Side Effects Treatment Options

Neurokinetic Therapy

Back in 2018 I heard about a chiropractor in town who was helping a friend with MS move more and experience less pain. Because I’d already spent a ton of time, energy and money on countless therapies, drugs and products (click here if you dont believe me) I wasn’t interested in getting my hopes up again or wasting more cash.

But since I ultimately love a good back crack I went to Dr. Deb Morrone at Frederick Chiropractic Wellness Center to see what she was up to. Turns out it was a little bit chiropractic, a smidge of voodoo, and a shit ton of, “What the hell did she just do to me”?

She literally poked me, tapped me, stuck me with a sharp stick, used a tuning fork, had me look at crossed and parallel lines while asking me to move certain body parts all while manually testing my muscles.

Huh?

And yet I walked out of there feeling better and more importantly, the results she created, stuck!

The technique she used, Neurokinetic Therapy, is a corrective movement system that reprograms the brain’s Motor Control Center (MCC).

Unlike farm animals that walk shortly after birth because they are born with brains coded in instinct, we humans must map out our own brains. That’s why we need a year of practice and preperation before we even begin to walk, talk and eat solid foods. It takes, on average, twelve months of countless daily mistakes before our MCC chooses the most efficient and effective way to walk three feet, say “mama” or eat a Cheerio without thinking (or choking).

We spend our entire lives training our brain to work efficiently without thinking everytime we learn a new skill: Playing sports, Learning an instrument; Driving a car; Doing the latest dance moves at the 8th Grade Formal in front of the cool kids without looking like an ass, then 40 years later, performing the latest dance moves at your daughter’s wedding in front of a bunch of 20-year-olds without looking like an old fart. You get the idea.

A healthy human brain can figure anything out. If you are born without hands, yet practice enough, it will figure out the most efficient way to use a knife and fork and text message with your toes.

The bad news about our adaptable brain is how quickly it modifies movement patterns once we suffer from anything as a result of injury, illness, or trauma. It turns out, any newly created compensatory movement patterns are held in our MCC forever. These new, less efficient patterns lead to pain, decreased range of motion (ROM), weakness, and fatigue which then morphs into cardiovascular issues, diabetes, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, etc.

Think of it this way. If the bridge in town closes for repairs, instead of your normal, 10 minute down drive down main street, you will need to take a 20 minute longer, winding, back road to arrive to work on time. But once construction is completed, you immediately go back to your normal driving route and all is well again.

If, however, your MCC was driving the car, it would continue taking the detour. Forever. This would cost you more gas, waste more of your time, and result in more wear and tear on your car.

How did neurological detours affect my body, specifically? It started with foot drop. To avoid tripping over a foot that wouldn’t flex properly, my brain created it’s first detour called the Steppage Gait. That involved excessive knee and hip bending to lift my foot higher. When that stopped working or my spasticity increased (who knows) I moved on to a Circumduction Gait which required a stiff, straight leg to swing out to the side in a semi-circle to avoid tripping over my foot. Which of course led to more detours because I wasnt properly using my muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints as they were designed to be used.

Then I took more alternative routes with every AFO, cane, and walking stick I tried. And don’t forget the bypasses I’ve taken from the stress of watching my body break dowm: Walking with a clenched jaw while holding my breath, hunch over staring down at the ground instead of out upon the horizon.

Even though I had found relief and improvement from a myriad of things over the years (Yoga; Anat Baniel Method; Feldenkrais; Hand Therapy; Myofascial Massage; and different AFOs), NOTHING stuck. I had no carryover what-so-ever. It was maddening.

That’s what I had been experiencing for six years until I began employing Neurokinetic Therapy. During our sessions, Dr. Deb corrected my movement by:

  • Identifying weak muscles via muscle testing.
  • Once a muscle “failed” my MCC was open to new learning.
  • She then activated the proper muscle that I should be using so that my MCC would recognize it once again.
  • This in turn reprogramed my brain to the older, more efficient patterns it once used.
  • To completely restore balance, specific exercises would be assigned to “burn” the new functional pattern into my MCC once again.

Arm Changes: Honestly the first year focused on decreasing neural glide pain and connective tissue tightness, increasing ROM but with a maximum assist by her. Translation: I couldn’t move my arm. But when she moved it for me (max assist) it hurt like a hell. Now she can move my arm in any direction, painfree and the last 6 months or so have resulted an abilty to move my arm more, on my own.

Especially at night. Usually the end of the day meant a completely spastic arm bent at a 90 degree angle. Now at day’s end, my arm hangs limp and when in bed, I can move actually my hand and fingers, slightly on my own.

Leg Changes: Even though I still limp into her clinic on a screwed up leg, I used that limb significantly more than my arm. Because of that my lower body was and is stronger and more functional than my upper body.

Ultimately last 18 months have resulted in:

  • The releasing of muscles doing work they weren’t designed to do.
  • Activation of the muscles I should be using (hamstrings, quads, hip flexors and calves) which has increased my ROM & strength.
  • Increased connective tissue fluidity which has given my peripheal nerves more space to function properly and without restriction.

For 12 – 15 months I was experiencing small, weekly changes that stuck and slowly built upon one another. I can actually feel my brain searching for older gait patterns it stored years ago. Sometimes this involves trial and error in real time while walking. Other times an old, pre-2012 MCC pattern will literally show up out of nowhere and stick around.

So even though it took months of Dr Deb activating my hamstrings, suddenly one day, BAM! My knee stopped hyperextending, locking and collapsing inward! I could do a warrior pose without propping a chair against my knee. Descend steps with less fear of my knee giving out. Walk outside with less knee locking in general.

This decrease in fear also changed my gait. A confident walker, looks out, not down at the ground when moving from Point A to Point B. Sometimes I can even turn my head when walking or look down at my phone for a quick second.

Full disclosure #1: My leg improvements don’t occur 100% of the time. They’re happening:

  • 75% of the time during a 10-minute stroll while walking on a flat, even surface (asphalt) with a cane.
  • 50% of the time during a 10-minute stroll while walking on a flat, even surface (asphalt) without a cane.
  • 0% of the time during a 1-minute stroll while walking on an uneven surface (grass) with a cane or while holding onto someone’s arm.

Full Disclosure #2: Are my improvements entirely due to Neurokinetic Therapy alone? Or are they due to a combination of Neurokinetic Therapy along with…

  • Bi-Annual Ocrevus Infusions?
  • Losing 25 lbs since the beginning of the year?
  • Taking Rick Simpson Oil at night a few times a week to decrease spasticity and sleep like a baby?
  • Using Frequency Specific Microcurrents throughout the week?

I have no idea. I do know that with the exception of 1 person, all of my friends who have tried Neurokinetic Tx have improved in some way, shape or form: My bad back is better. My pain has significantly decreased or is gone. My muscles work differently. I’m moving in ways that I haven’t moved in years. My brain fog lifts and my anxiety decreases after seeing her.

Full Disclosure #3: This takes time, energy, money and in my case having the right insurance that happens to be accepted by this particular chiropractic clinic.

Full Disclosure #4: I’ve recently found a Massage Therapist / Personal Trainer that’s an advanced Neurokinetic Practitioner who I will blog about soon. Her insights have been amazingly helpful after only a few weeks of working with her.

If you’ve had success with Neurokinetic Therapy or are a practitioner yourself, let me know. I’d love to hear about your experience.

Categories
Current Affairs Health and Wellness Politics Random Musings Religion Thinking / Reasoning

Mea Culpa Time

I planned on blogging again to talk about the cool stuff I’m doing for my MS. Than President Fucking-Feasance took over my brain. So today I’m going to get it all out of my system and move on.

Fucking-Feasance? Although I’m not a lawyer, Trump has clearly carried out all three types of failures like a God damn champ. Hence the name. Per Wikipedia:

  • Nonfeasance is the failure to act where action is required—willfully or in neglect.
  • Misfeasance is the willful inappropriate action or intentional incorrect action or advice.
  • Malfeasance is the willful and intentional action that injures a party.

Anger: My anger is always just under the surface. I’m Angry that anyone fell for this idiot in the first place. Angry that Republican officials haven’t had the balls to stand up to this asshole for the past three years. Angry that an entire news organization continues to lie for this dickhead with so many lives on the line. Angry that news organizations broadcast his obvious fabrications, live to our nation on a daily basis.

Denial: To avoid having this rage poison my day, I sometimes slip into denial. Once there I imagine what Obama, Bush or Clinton would be saying during these daily briefings. And no, not Bill. Hillary.

How would Hilary have handled this? Hmmm. How would an intelligent, ex-Secretary of State, ex-Senator, ex-First Lady, with no known psychiatric disorders be maneuvering this crisis? My guess? She would’ve done the following:

Most importantly she would have surrounded herself with experts like Epidemiologist, Larry Brilliant who when asked if Americans have received good advice over the past 12 weeks stated, “No. All we got were lies. Saying it’s fake, by saying this is a Democratic hoax. There are still people today who believe that, to their detriment. Speaking as a public health person, this is the most irresponsible act of an elected official that I’ve ever witnessed in my lifetime. But what you’re hearing now [to self-isolate, close schools, cancel events] is right. Is it going to protect us completely? Is it going to make the world safe forever? No. It’s a great thing because we want to spread out the disease over time.”

Click here to read more truthful but difficult to hear information regarding what has to happen for us to come out the other side of this pandemic. Spoiler alert. It won’t be by Easter Sunday when our pent up economy is waiting to explode like Asshat postulated the other day.

Unfortunately Fox News still would have been Disinformation Central had Hillary been elected. I’m unsure if they would’ve sounded the alarm while shitting all over Hilary’s choices or worse, denied this was actually happening even longer than they did with Trump at the helm?

Sadness: I know my heart is going to be broken. Either myself or someone I love is going to lose something that means everything to them. I keep hoping it’s merely a job and not an entire ability to support one’s self. An opportunity instead of that person’s dreams altogether. A swath of time from being sick and out of commission, not an entire life.

But it’s coming and I’m frightened for everyone I know.

Confusion: I thought everyone knew that narcissists, like tigers, simply can’t change their stripes? There is no cure for narcissism! Trump will always be exactly who he is. Although I’m sad the Republican party never demanded he rise to the occasion of being President, I knew he couldn’t do it even if he wanted to.

I just thought eventually once he fucked up enough, his supporters would call him out on his bullshit. Not giving a shit about me and Democrats in general is okay. Not giving a shit about your own best interests and those of your loved ones makes no sense to me.

I Need a Mea Culpa: I’m one of those people that needs you to know, that I know. That’s it. Once you know, that I know, that you know you made a mistake, I can let go of any anger or dissapointment I’m feeling and move on.

But if you continue to lie to me or pretend nothing happened, I want to lose my mind. Which is probably why I loved Mark Maron’s 2017 Netflix special, Too Real. In it he said the following about Trump:

…if he does anything good, I’ll admit it.

That said, if it’s much worse than we ever anticipated, which is really fucking bad, people that voted for him are gonna have to apologize. That’s all.

They’ve just gotta apologize. I’m just gonna need a little eye contact.

Look, even if we only have eight minutes before the missiles hit, I’m gonna need a little eye contact, and a few words. Even if it’s like, “Oh, man! I didn’t think he’d do this! This is crazy, bro! Sorry! 

That’s where I am today.

You can’t post a picture of Jesus wearing a MAGA hat, draped in a Rosary along with your xenophobic Chinese Virus Prayer stating how “We’re all in this together,” and think I’m going to be okay with that. I won’t because, that’s fucked up!

And although I don’t need you to self flaggelate or change political parties, like Maron stated in 2017…

You just gotta fucking apologize! I’m gonna need a little eye contact.

Even if I only have eight minutes until they take my chronically conditioned, multiple sclerosis ass off the ventilator to give it to a small child who deserves a future, I’m gonna need a little eye contact. And a few words. Even if it’s like, “Oh, damn! I didn’t think he’d do this! This is crazy, lady! Sorry!”

Then I can move on. Hopefully just emotionally and spiritually but if I must, it will probably help me physically as well.

So. If you need to pick up that deuce you dropped back in 2016, get a move on. You might not have all the time you think you do.

Featured image: Department of Public Information in the city of Springfield, Missouri 

Categories
Current Affairs In The News Random Musings

Can't Wait until People are just People Again

After 9-11, every plane in the sky became a potential weapon to me.

“Is that plane supposed to be so close to the Empire State building? Is that normal elevation for a plane landing at La Guardia? Holy hell, is a terrorist crashing a jet onto I-78 or is a pilot just heading towards Newark Airport? These were the thoughts in my head most days.

Eventually planes became planes again.

Then I moved to Frederick, MD right before the DC Sniper began stalking the area. Suddenly white vans became potential weapons. Forcing your daughters to run in a zig zag formation upon exciting a grocery store while screaming at them for stopping to stare at a butterfly will not earn you a mother-of-the-year award.

Eventually white vans became white vans again.

Now that COVID-19 is here, people are becoming potential weapons.

Am I too close to the lady in the produce aisle? Oh thank God the stocker handing me a package of provolone cheese is wearing gloves! Shit. I’m down to one ripped tissue jammed into the waistband of my yoga pants. Will I look like a serial killer if I wipe my nose w/ my sleeve?

Although I was feeling cocky and superhuman this morning after leaving Wegman’s unscathed, a sweet, older man had the audacity to ask me for directions at the gas station! This lead to more mind racing.

Should I approach the elderly man in his car? Because of his thick accent, I’m afraid he won’t understand that the 70 North he’s asking directions for is actually 70 West? And even though the exit is less than a mile from here, will he get that he has to jump onto 15 South which turns into 270 South before he’ll even see the sign for 70 West to Hagerstown?

So I did the responsible, human being thing by writing it all down and then walking it over to his car.

Oh shit, I touched his car while his window was down! Not partially down. All the way down! Did I risk my life? Did my fingers brush against his when I handed him the directions? I don’t think so? Or am I just imagining that? I suffer from a chronic condition and he’s definitely elderly. Holy hell! Two high risk groups only 2 feet apart from one another? Jesus, did I just kill someone’s grandpa?

FUCK!!!!!!!!!!!

Once I got home, shut the garage door and brought the groceries along with myself safely inside, I broke down in tears.

I can’t wait until people go back to being people again.

Featured image by WATARI

Categories
Current Affairs Television

Patriot

Last year while listening to Dax Sheppard’s podcast, Armchair Expert he mentioned his love of the quirky and farcical comedy-drama Patriot, a 2 season series on Amazon Prime.

Patriot follows “the turbulent and complicated life of an intelligence officer, John Tavner, whose latest assignment is to prevent Iran from going nuclear. The assignment requires him to forgo all safety nets and assume a perilous non-official cover.” ~ Google

Unlike most series that chronicle secret agents perfectly kicking ass while seamlessly taking names, this one shows what happens when nothing goes according to plan. Absurd and at times dismal, Patriot tells the tale of a beleaguered, undercover intelligence official willing to do whatever is asked of him by the Director of Intelligence at the State Department – who also happens to be his dad.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that to process all that he’s been through, Tavner performs folk songs about his top secret missions in excruciating detail.

Birds of Amsterdam lyrics by Genius.com

In June two thousand and eleven
The United States learned Iranian president

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was fucking around
With new centrifuges

Egyptian physicist Mohammad Wahwa El-Mashad
Was hired to produce the catalyzed uranium
I was tasked to shoot Mashad
While he was on vacation
To keep Iran from activating
Short-range nuclear weapons
To destroy Israel
I got some really bad intelligence
Shot an old male hotel maid
Who was just making the physicist’s bed

And my evacuation team parked on the wrong street
I was arrested by the secret king’s police
I got a fair dose of white torture which is supposed to
Completely erase your sense of self

I’m showing several signs of increasing mental instability
Talking to my wife would be… well
That would be awfully nice

You can’t just go back to the US after
You target a guy on their behalf
And some genius parked me in Amsterdam

I’ve just been getting baked, just looking up at birds
Wondering why there aren’t male hotel maids in other countries
You never see that, never see that
Never see that

I found a cool fan site on redbubble while looking for art for this post. Check out Alicia Cordyle’s site when you have a chance.

And lastly the photo for this post’s featured image is a screen shot (which explains the shitty resolution – sorry) of my favorite scene which involves: Cool Rick carrying his attache badge while wearing his awesome yellow track suit while listening to Beastie Boys Root Down, or as he calls it, “best song for kicking ass for my brother”.

Just watch the damn show, will ya?

Categories
Current Affairs Family In The News Inspirational Random Musings Travel

Almost Heaven, Indeed

My sister-in-law, Annette, was born and raised in Wild & Wonderful West Virginia! Her and my brother had their reception in Wheeling. My husband, Gary, got his BS from West Virginia University located in Morgantown. That’s also where I earned my MS degree. Heck, my parents live only 10 miles from the PA – WV line.

Needless to say I’m shocked but not quite surprised that as of this writing WV is still the last state standing without a coronavirus confirmation. But Gary and I have our theories.

Exhibit A: Moonshine has a very high alcohol content.

See Annette below? That’s her, on the way to the wedding reception drinking what appears to be a bottle of gatorade.

Oh hell no! That’s homemade moonshine, people! Apple pie flavor if I recall.

It was a golden, brown color, similar to whiskey. Not something you’d want to drink in a limo traveling 70 miles per hour while wearing a wedding dress. But when you grow up in WV you don’t spill a damn drop of your moonshine! Ever! Not even while speeding over Pennsylvania potholes. #JohnDenverWouldBeProud

P1040300

Exhibit B: Couch fires have been banned for years.

In fact, back in 2015, outdoor furniture became illegal in Morgantown. Obviously not having large groups of students gathering together in front of a flaming sofas has been for the greater good this past month or so.

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(Photo credit: mamajedi)

So, to the fine people of West Virginia, I salute you.

Proud to be your Pennsylvania neighbor growing up. Honored to be a resident back in the early 90’s. Thrilled to be your Maryland neighbor today.

Now stay safe out there everybody.

(Featured image photo: WTOV9)

Categories
Drugs Dynamic Bracing Solutions Fitness Foot drop Health and Wellness Movement Multiple Sclerosis Smart Step Brace Symptoms / Side Effects Treatment Options Yoga

What I’ve Learned from my Eleven Year Shit Show

I spent the entire weekend documenting everything I’ve tried for my MS. Thank God for iCal, my Amazon order history and the “purchase” file I keep in my email app. I’m not surprised by the vast majority of medicines, therapies and equipment as much as I’m shocked at what I forgot. For example I literally had no memory of taking an expensive medication as well as many treatments until stumbling upon them in my digital calendar.

At this point I need to stop, post and hit publish. Over the next few weeks I’ll be describing what’s been working for me these last two years. In the meantime if you have a specific question about what I’ve tried at any point feel free to ask in the comment section or message me.

And no, I didn’t have the courage to tally up how much this has cost me out of pocket.

One thing at a time dear readers. One thing at a time.

The following tables indicate what worked, stopped workin or never really worked at all since my diagnosis in 2009. Please note, anything in yellow worked, just not all the time.  Or it worked at first but didn’t give me enough long term improvements to justify continuing to pay for them. Some things started out feeling very “green” and formidable only for me to later realize that it was simply keeping me upright but not moving forward.

Don’t get me wrong, upright is awesome. But never moving forward makes me try something new eventually. So yellow below isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact some of the yellow cells below are items I hope to return to and try again. But for now, it’s been my experience, that they aren’t as good as the green cells below.

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The following tables indicate how I stumbled upon the medications, therapies or pieces of equipment in the first place. Purple, like yellow above, is also complicated. Just because my physician assistant didn’t tell me about something doesn’t mean she wasn’t completely on board and enthusiastic about therapies once I shared them with her.

I’m simply trying to illustrate how much personal work one must do when diagnosed with something chronic.

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Updated for accuracy on 3/16/20. Featured image by I.am._nah

Categories
Current Affairs Politics

Just Call Me Vinnie Barbarino

I mentioned recently that it’s hard for me to write about whatever I’m not directly experiencing or feeling.  I would love to write about the therapies I’m currently benefitting from but I can’t stop thinking about this administration’s response to the coronavirus.

Like how in God’s name can someone spread incorrect public health information while reading a prepared and thoroughly vetted speech from a telepromptor?

Or how Trump and Pence are continuing to shake hands…At the COVID-19 National Emergency announcement…In front of public health officials…While discussing how to stop the spread of a pandemic disease…While millions of Americans (who are being told to follow social distancing protocols) are watching!

What the fuck?

(Featured Image by Frank McKenna)

Categories
Health and Wellness In The News Multiple Sclerosis Politics Uncategorized

Has He Finally Hit Rock Bottom?

Are we there yet?

I personally thought our Asshole in Chief hit bottom the day he announced his candidacy back in 2015.

Perhaps his bottom is coming since he’s officially 2 degrees of separation from the Coronavirus.  I sure hope the dude that placed the American flag on the stage isn’t the infected person that has forced so many Republicans to self quarantine.

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Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Oh wait, I forgot. Only in-firmed, elderly folks are at risk, not the healthiest President of all time who happens to be 73. And is overweight. And is probably malnourished from a lifetime of eating fast food. I’m sure he’ll be fine.

Not to be a bitch but I take a drug that’s been keeping my MS at bay for two years.  Since starting I not only have inactive lesions on my brain but I’m also FINALLY seeing motor improvements. To achieve this, however, I have to deplete T and B Cells in my immune system twice a year. Not something you do when a novel Coronavirus is spreading across the country. So to avoid dying from a novel virus I must stop receiving the drug that’s helping me immensly. Gee, I wonder how that will work out for me?

So again, I’m asking. Has he hit finally rock bottom? Has sabotaging our response to pandemics bitten us in the ass? Can we agree that having a narcissist in charge is a bad idea? Can we finally admit that the chick with the email problem would’ve worried more about average Americans, and less about herself?

Hate to say we told you so. But we did.

(Featured image by Sara Kurfeß)