On December 7, 2020, I decided to commit to 100 days of self-care. I’m happy to report that I woke up today, Day 100, feeling lighter, more stable and moving better.
I’m lighter because I started Weight Watchers in February and have lost 10 pounds. I like WW because there are no good or bad foods. It’s just math. Want dessert every day? Then figure out how to make the tastiest, lowest point treat, and earn more points for your day by exercising. Injured and can’t exercise? Then eat more 0 point foods. I like using the app and I love that I can scan a barcode while shopping to make better choices. It also helps that my husband eats whatever I cook and my daughter figures out her own dinners each night.
I’m more stable as in physically counterbalanced. My chiropractor couldn’t knock me over this week. She had me twist, turn, lean forward, and arch back while attempting to throw me off balance, but I stood my ground. For the first time in two and half years of treatment, I was using certain stabilization muscles. “In any movement, stabilizer muscles act to stabilize one joint, so the desired movement can be performed in another joint. These muscles usually aren’t directly involved in a movement, but work to keep you steady so that your primary muscles can do their job”. (www.verywellfit.com)
This muscle awakening is absolutely due to what I learned online from Dr. Tara Tobias, The NewGait training system for mobility and Jay Berger, PT extraordinaire from VirtualKare. Which is the third biggest change to occur during these 100 days. I’m walking better while aided.
Dr. Tobias’ exercises improved my ability to stand and strengthened a bunch of muscles, which resulted in better walking mechanics. But I still wasn’t seeing a huge change in functional mobility. Which is why randomly hearing about The NewGait system from a friend after inadvertently finding the Orlando NeuroTherapy’s YouTube channel is also a big part of these past 100 Days. Strengthening muscles is fantastic. But dragging these strengthened muscles around, didn’t make walking easier. Figuring out how to use straps and bungee cords to assist these strengthened muscles when walking has been the big game changer for me.
To be clear, believing that I finally found an affordable, mobility training device that allows me to exercise the muscles I need to walk better and also has the potential to help with unaided future movement didn’t happen until yesterday, day 99! For 98 days I knew I was making progress, but I didn’t truly believe this progress was going to morph into better, functional movement.
Then yesterday, after my third physical therapy appointment with Jay Berger to tweak the NewGait system, I finally walked out of there with an easy to use, easy to put on, training device that addressed all of my specific gait issues.
Once I got home I wore it twice, meaning I put it on by myself and got the same results I got when helped by a medical professional. Twice I was able to walk with a more normal gait pattern and feel muscles firing. On two separate occasions I took it off and felt a difference in my non-aided gait and noticed carryover gains for a few minutes. I had the twofold experience of feeling my brain and body trying to figure out how to integrate new proprioceptive and neuroplastic information.
Tripping due to having MS sucks. Yet tripping over exactly what I require when I need it seems to happen often. (Insert Alanis Morissettee’s song Ironic, here).
You’ll know what you need to know
when you need to know it. ~ Joseph Aldo
The above quote has stuck for twenty years because it got me hip to the idea that you find information when you need information. If you haven’t figured something out it’s not because you’re an idiot, it’s because you’re not supposed to know just yet.
This is an encouraging yet frustrating concept. You mean I didn’t need to know how to best stabilize my body and walk correctly back in 2013? Seriously? Are you shitting me?
Of course, I did. But none of the therapeutic devices, techniques, or treatments that I actually benefit from in 2021 existed in 2013, so knowing them wasn’t an option. Although these kinesiological concepts were understood back then, no one seemed to know how to easily and affordably apply them to bodies with limited mobility. Being pissed about that fact doesn’t change the facts.
So maybe patience and trust is the true takeaway of these last 100 days? The importance of continuing to look for solutions even when you don’t find the answer you’re looking for. I’m not sure if this trait of mine is due to tenacity or boredom, but since I’ve got nothing else going on I might as well keep plugging along and writing about what I find.
Maybe I can be the accidental information someone else trips over today?
Free featured photo from iStock by Getty