I Walk Because I Can Walk!

I Can Walk

Most people take things like getting out of bed, standing up, sitting down, eating, and walking for granted. Of course you will be able to do all those things tomorrow, right? WRONG! How wrong it was I learned a few years ago, when I had an ms attack on a Friday. I had been riding my recumbent bicycle about 125 miles (201 kilometers) a week. On Friday, I rode 27 miles (43 kilometers). I woke up Saturday and my legs were rubbery under me. I could hardly stand up. My head pain was back. You see, I had learned that headache and head pain are different. No medication will relieve head pain, even if it is strong enough to make you unconscious. Head pain is caused by nerves, at least in my case.

It is quite shocking to wake up and discover you are not going to ride a bicycle today, and you can not walk to the mailbox, on the end of the driveway, either. This was a difficult challenge. After about 5 days, I was determined to walk to the end of the driveway. It was about 100 feet (30.48 meters), which should have been no problem for someone in my physical condition.

LOL! Was I wrong! With a niece on each arm to support me on my rubber legs, I walked down that driveway. It took 2 hours to go all the way to the end and back. But I made it! I could walk, sort of. It was going to be hard, but I was not going to let ms take me down, yet. I went to physical rehabilitation, on my doctors advice, since I really wanted to go riding again. After six months, I was told I could ride all I wanted to, if the wheel did not touch the road. I was insulted! I had been riding 125 miles (201 kilometers) a week, now I could not ride on the road? I would show them. Of course, during this time, I was using a walker. I had gotten better. I could walk the half mile (804.672 meters) to rehab in two hours now. It kind of filled my day, get up, walk to rehab, spend 4 hours in therapy, walk home.

It took me two years to ride that bike again. Then I found out I could ride about 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) before my right leg went numb. You can not ride a bicycle with a numb leg. It takes between 20 and 30 minutes to get the numbness to go away. But I was riding! It was just a matter of time, right? WRONG! After two years, my leg still went numb in that mile (1.6 kilometers). I gave away the recumbent. I could walk, though! I got where I could walk anywhere.

I have had to learn to walk three times now. I do not honestly know if I can do it again, when the time comes. I now walk three miles (4.8 kilometers) a day, minimum. I can walk! There is a fine line between too much and not enough for those with ms. Too much means losing the muscle faster, and not enough means giving up too soon. I was walking 5 miles (8 kilometers) a day for a while. That is too much, and makes my legs hurt, a lot. Then I tried three miles (4.8 kilometers) an hour. That is too fast, and makes my legs hurt, too. Now, I walk three miles (4.8 kilometers) a day, at a not too fast pace. That is just my walking time. Some days, my grandchildren accompany me. It is great just to walk. I enjoy looking around and taking time to see what I can.

How long will I be able to walk? I do not know, the doctors do not know, the MS Society does not know. No one knows. However, I do not take walking for granted. I deliberately walk, because today I can walk. I park far from the door of the store, because I can walk across the parking lot. I purposely walk back and forth in the yard, watering the trees and garden, because I can walk. I can not take walking for granted, for tomorrow, I may not be able to walk. When I travel, I carry a cane, because I do not know if I can walk when I get there. Life is a joy, because today I can walk. I shall keep walking as long as I can.

I like to think that I am going to beat ms. I know that is wishful thinking on my part. No one has ever beat ms if they really have ms. However, all of us can do everything we can to live in spite of ms.

Links to information:
What Is MS?

My Own Disease

All I Have Is Multiple Sclerosis

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