A few months ago I was frustrated by my continued gait dysfunction. No matter which medications I’ve taken (Copaxone, Tysabri, Ampyra, Low Dose Naltrexone), therapies I’ve attempted (yoga, Feldenkrais, Anat Baniel Method, physical therapy, myofascial release, basic calisthenics), or medical equipment I’ve purchased (AFOs, foot drop braces, canes), my walking was going to shit.
I’d improve at micro-levels, noticing more movement when sitting or lying down, but once upright and working against gravity, my gait problems continued. Any changes that I could manifest would last a day at most, then I’d wake the next morning stiff and limping again.
Besides being awkward, gait impairments are exhausting. For me personally, my strong right leg (15% of my body) has to mobilize the other 85% of me and the less I’ve used certain muscles over the past four years, the weaker they’ve become. This has made walking worse. Then this past year my upper body became more involved in my limp which forced my inner Igor (not my inner Aerosmith) to came out to play as I “walked this way”.
So you can imagine my surprise when I came across this video of a woman with MS and gait deformities similar to mine, not only walking but running with her customized dynamic bracing solution (DBS)! To then find a CPO (certified prosthetist orthotist) that made DBSs less than an hour from my home was absolutely amazing!
After two months of consultations, evaluations, gait analysis, measurements, casting, and leg mold sculpting, my customized brace, designed specifically for my gait abnormalities is being fabricated in San Diego. As soon as it arrives on the east coast I’ll be trained in how to use it.
As I sit here contemplating 2017, I’m conflicted. These past four years I’ve gotten excited about a variety of therapeutic options only to be let down. Normally when this happens I pick myself up and move on to the next option. But 2016 was the year that life got much smaller as my disability got much larger and at this point, most of my grace and dignity is long gone. I haven’t recognized myself in a while.
I’m not going to lie. If this brace doesn’t work I’m going to be devastated and feel foolish for getting my hopes up again. After I allow my anger to morph into sadness I’ll figure out a more functional Plan B for my life. I have to eventually leave the house not to mention needing a plan for when the Republicans rape and pillage the Affordable Care Act and possiblly take away my pre-existing condition protection.
If on the other hand it works, I’ll become a crazy lady, walking everywhere. I won’t be as cool as Dancing Dan, a famous, always smiling, Fredericktonian that travels everywhere on foot with a sweet walkman clipped to his pants. And I certainly won’t be as friendly as Terry, the nice, neighbor lady over on Fairview Drive who waves to every car that passes her while walking her dog.
I just want the opportunity to go from this:
So here’s to 2017. Wishing you a year of whatever you’re hoping to create for yourself. For once I dont want a bikini body, to find my bliss or change my life in some large way. My resolution is to simply to make a resolution, aka, a firm decision. This is the year that I walk as much as possible. It’s either going to look pretty again or stay Igor-like but either way I’m going to walk as much as I possibly can, while I can.
So as we pull away from the shit show that was 2016, here’s to some reckless certainty in your life as well as mine: