Thursday, April 12, 2012

What I stand for. What we walk for.

I have not stood or walked for more than 18 months.  

What you may not know is that I will stand and walk again soon. No kidding. I have found what may be the world's greatest physical therapist. I have worked with more than a dozen therapists in the past few years, but they pale in comparison to Emily. She is extraordinary, extremely knowledgeable (bordering on being a nerd) and also has an incredible spirit, always positive, very encouraging and is someone that I look forward to seeing several times a week.

Fortunately for me I am in a position where I can commit to seeing her 4 days a week. No, my insurance does not pay for it. It might pay for much of it if she took Medicare, but she does not. She used to, but the paperwork became so burdensome that she had to drop it. Private insurance will typically pay for about 18 visits per year. When going 4 times a week, the 18 visits get absorbed very quickly. So I pay for it. It is expensive for us and we do it anyway. She does give me a great discount, much less than Medicare would pay her, and I am very grateful for that.

The bottom line is this: I will stand and walk again.

Not everyone with MS who has lost these abilities can say that. I can. I am living proof that the right physical therapist and a whole lot of determination works.

 When we started therapy, she carefully examined my legs and determined that my muscles were very small and very weak. But I still had muscle, enough to build on and that is what we have been doing for the past several months. My leg strength has improved dramatically, I am able to straighten my leg more than I have been able to do for the past few years and my core continues to become stronger with every passing week. Now we are at a point where I am standing. It is not pretty, but it is beautiful. Click on the video below and see for yourself.

The amount of work involved to recover those abilities is great. My therapist, has a rule of thumb. The time required to regain those abilities,  may be equal to the amount of time spent in the wheelchair. Based on her rule of thumb, I have 10 more months to go. Baloney! I am determined to do it sooner and prove to the world and myself that it can be done.

Proving this, exercising my influence over this disease, is what I am determined to do. It is what I stand for.

The good news is that I do not stand alone. We have one of the largest teams at the Greater LA Walk MS event which takes place Sunday, April 15th. Last year nearly 10,000 people showed up for the Walk and it was something very special to be a part of. Nearly 100 people showed up to walk with us on our team, the JiggyWiggits Some of our friends walk, some give money, some do both. What they all do is participate and that makes all the difference in the world to us.

This will be our 6th year of participating in the MS Walk. What I have learned is that everybody I know wants to do something to help and often they do not know what they can do. The MS Walk gives everyone something to do that makes a difference. There are about 600 MS Walk events that take place from coast to coast. In other words, there is a Walk taking place near everyone you know.

These MS Walks raise millions and millions of dollars for the National MS Society that are used to support research, programs and services for people living with MS. This is this money that will lead us to a cure and better treatments.

This is the money needed so that no one will ever have to learn to walk again. This is what we walk for.

Please join us and support the JiggyWiggits. Visit our website and join our team. Come and be a part of something special or support us with your generosity. It can and will make a difference.

Participate. Make a difference. Live a life that matters.