During my bout with Mono I pretty much hit rock bottom as far as MS is concerned. I was soon to be piloting a wheelchair around instead of using my cane/braces combo and this wasn’t sitting well with me. It all came on too fast, I know MS is progressive and mine has been no exception but up until this point things had been taking a more leisurely pace. I wasn’t ready to be in a chair. I have a young son to look after, a wife, a house, a career and too many things to list.
So while I was feeling sorry for myself sprawled out on the couch I did a lot of soul searching, internet searching, and received many emails from friends, family and colleagues. Two things stand out as serious life changing events. Number one was an email from my mom. It was a link to Dr.Wahls’s TedX presentation on “Minding Your Mitochondrion”. Viewing this video changed everything for me, it was so simple...change your diet and give your body the energy it needs to stomp out MS. I started right away on the diet and the results have been amazing, every day I feel stronger.
The second life changing event was reading a blog on this website. It talked about electronic stimulus devices and there were links to the different types of systems, including the Bioness Foot Drop System. I hadn't heard of this before. So at my next PT appointment I brought it up to my therapist Mary and she said they had something like that in the office. The system they had in the office was a glorified version of a TENS device, not the advanced system that was offered by Bioness. So we hooked up the sticky pads to my gimpy failure of a left leg and turned on the juice…nothing, the batteries were dead. After changing out the batteries, the required electricity now became available, so Mary pushed the button and...I felt a little twinge in my foot. Not bad, since I hadn’t felt anything down there since 2010, but not quite enough to get me going anywhere. So Mary cranked up the Juice and voila my foot turned on! It was uncomfortable to say the least. I think Mary liked zapping me too, but it was working.
So now I’m walking/gimping around the therapy office tethered to my mini therapist (I’m 6’6” and she’s about 5’2”) by an electrical cord with a button that she has to push every time the machine needs to zap me. I still had my cane but no braces at this point. The machine was working pretty well but it wasn’t meant for an all-day kind of event. Mary and I talked about the Bioness system and decided it couldn’t hurt to contact the sales rep in the area and see what they thought.
After contacting the rep Dianne, we set up an appointment to fit the system and see if it would work for me. Dianne met me at my next PT session and talked with Mary and I before fitting the device to my leg. I couldn’t take the excitement. It was killing me after watching videos online of MSers walking with their devices. I was sure I’d get up and run out of the place! Dianne put the cuff around my knee, plugged in a little control box to a bigger computerized head unit and turned on my leg…Seriously, this was crazy, but my entire foot went from hanging there doing nothing to full of energy, one of the craziest things I have ever seen. Not only did my foot turn on but my calf flexed and my knee felt like it “pulled together”.
Now I’m powered up and I take a few steps away from the table and go for it, I walked around the office once and stopped for adjustments and to drop off my cane. It was working, I couldn’t believe that there was a way to turn my leg back on and I was wearing it! Dianne told me that we could talk to insurance about getting it covered but it was a long shot considering the $6,500 price tag, but she would work on a loaner system for me to try out.
In only a few days’ time I had gone from lying on the couch contemplating life in a powered chair to walking around under my own (limited) power. I couldn’t believe this was all happening to me, for the first time in years I had hope. MS was not taking me down not without a serious fight.
Be a Warrior Today,
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