move it or lose it?

from time to time, i begin to ponder if the “use it or lose it,” philosophy applies to things like walking when one has ms. am i doing irreparable harm to my future mobility by relying so heavily, even around the house, on my wheelchair? or is there some benefit to using the walker/crutches? after a while, they both become exhausting, and i seem to be dragging my feet around more than actually “walking,” which i can do for a short period if i really focus on picking up my feet and going very slowly. i will admit to feeling like more of an invalid and disabled person than i like to feel by relying on the chair, and my back hurts after a day spent in it. both modes of locomotion have their advantages.

but is the “use it or lose it,” just a subconscious denial of the inevitable progression of ms, and will i lose it anyway, regardless of the struggle to keep “walking” as long as i can? i plan to get the walker out today, and make that effort for as long as i can, if only to prove to myself that i still can.  but am i only fooling myself?


Author: stephen

stephen harris is a writer, painter and a photographer who lives with his family in maine.

2 thoughts on “move it or lose it?”

  1. stephen, my first instinct is to say “Use it!” But then, what do the docs say? Other MS patients? I would trust conventional wisdom on this one, since you do not want to do yourself harm.

  2. Good question, one that I’ve asked myself. I know it’s true, certainly for me and others I’ve observed, that if you cease practicing or doing a particular skill or activity, you get “rusty”.

    I suppose depending on what it is how critical it may be or not to try to regain what is lost. Or even if it’s doable.

    MS changes things doesn’t it and part of that means saying “goodbye” to the way you use to do stuff. Some abilities can just never be regained.I had to find new ways of accomplishing my day…and not let the dang disease diminish me!

    Often when I’m out in the world I ponder all the walking people, seemingly mindlessly, and I want to tell them to take a moment to really appreciate the simple act of moving from point A to point B on one’s own! MS makes me see things like that…

    I am stubborn and I do my best to get around taking full advantage of mobility aids. I often use 2 hiking poles as the bilateral support feels better and hiking poles look cool. Here is a pretty neat site on that…

    I’m finding Ampyra makes a difference for me in how my extremities respond. Less like cement and more like living flesh. I know you were going to give it a go and had been on 4AP before…any luck there?

    But it makes good sense to use a WC or scooter, too, rather then completely wipe yourself out or worse, fall down injured. I don’t even try to negotiate an airport, mall or museum outing without a WC/scooter. Still manage to have a good time, as I see you’re doing too. Bravo!

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