I’ve been going to physical therapy for a couple of weeks now. I already feel stronger. I don’t have the worrying weakness going down the stairs, and I can balance much better with my eyes open. Eyes closed is still a bit of an adventure. I’ve been doing an exercise where I walk heel to toe in a straight line. I feel like I’m on a tightrope even though I’m just walking across the floor. Lots of balance checks and arm waving to keep on the line. I tried doing it with my eyes closed for the first time the other day. Woosh. I used a couple of poles like I was cross country skiing to keep my balance. Usually my legs are really tired at the end of these sessions, the use of the poles made my arms and shoulders tired. Still, it was good to do, I’m sure I’ll get better as I do it more often.
The most important thing I’ve learned so far is that I can’t exercise like a normal person. If I were training for sprints or something, I would need to push myself and wear myself out during the workout. I’ve been told by my therapist that that kind of workout is detrimental for someone with MS. If I exhaust myself, it will take much longer to recover, and I will feel worse than when I started. That certainly jibes with my experience. We are taking it much more slowly than I would have anticipated, but I think it’s paying dividends. I’m doing horizontal squats at a much lower weight than I had been doing them before. We keep building up the number of reps and the number of sets, but it is done in such a way that I’m not getting exhausted.
The bad thing is that I am now super paranoid about how much effort I’m expending. I now realize that when I leave work exhausted, I am really doing myself no favors and setting myself up to feel rotten for longer periods of time. I’ve missed a fair about of work these past couple of weeks because I’m afraid of going to work tired and then wearing myself out walking around for the rest of the day. I’m going to have to make a concerted effort to sit down at work, that’s all, no more giving up every ounce of energy. Like I said, I do feel stronger already and I think if I keep up a good mix of proper exercise and good rest, things will be much better long term. Wish me luck!