Plan #2 – Baby steps

IMG_5505A few weeks back, while at a scrapbook retreat with my girlfriends, I made a pact with myself: in November 2016, right before my 50th birthday, I am going to run a 5k.

This is a good goal. I’ve always said I wanted to be a runner! Sadly, though, the whole running thing has never really happened for me. Years back, pre-MS, Deb and I decided we were going to start running. I quit before the end of that summer, totally demoralized; she kept at it and now runs marathons. (I am extremely proud of that girl. Go, Deb!)

I’ve tried a number of running schemes before, but – to be perfectly honest – I was too out of shape to even do the “Step 1” of any of the plans. Now, though, I have the Health app that came with my iPhone. It tells me how many steps are in every mile I walk. So I broke the whole thing down: 5k = about 3 miles = about 6000 steps (according to the app). I tried a bit of jogging to see how far I could go, and discovered I could easily run for 50 steps. Yep! 50 steps. There’s nowhere to go but up!

I told myself I had to get out there and walk three times a week – either Monday or Tuesday, either Thursday or Friday, and either Saturday or Sunday – and run the assigned number of steps somewhere in that walk. That was three weeks ago, and I haven’t missed yet. Week 1: 3 days x 50 steps. Week 2: 3 days x 100 steps. Week 3: 3 days x 150 steps. Today was the first day of Week 4, and I ran for 200 steps. (I misjudged how far that would be and ended up running the last 50 steps uphill. Yikes.)

I’ve run the whole plan by my MS neurologist (Ha! Inadvertent pun!) and he’s all for it. Exercise can really wear me out, so he is glad my plan has me increasing my exertion in such small increments, but besides that, he believes that anything that makes me healthier can only help with my overall well-being. He tested my leg weakness and evaluated my walking stride yesterday; I haven’t gotten any worse since I’d last seen him, so as long as I am careful, I should be fine.

Look out, world! By the end of April, I predict I will be able to run a mile. A whole mile, people. This is unprecedented for an out-of-shape diseased person like me. And by next fall, I’ll be up to three miles. Yowza.

I need to keep my eyes peeled for a Turkey Trot going on this month so I know what race to register for next year. I’ll let you know if I find one, and you can all run it with me. It will be the ultimate 50th birthday party!

MS Fidgety Fundracers – Walk MS Portland 2015

2013-Walk-MS-Leaderboard-Banner-728x90_FinalWalk MS is coming up this weekend and I am sooooo excited. We’ve got a new team name this year (after the blog, see?) and I have a team of awesome people who are going to walk with me, many of whom are new to Walk MS!

One of the big treats this year is going to be having my mom here for the Walk. She is in town for two weeks, and I didn’t put two and two together that it would exactly overlap with Walk MS! I’m also excited to see one of my coworkers, who has been working from home for the past few years. We haven’t seen each other in seven years! (Seven? Is that possible?!) Although we talk on the phone at times and email pretty frequently, seeing him in the flesh for a change will be pretty cool.

With four days to go until the Portland walk, my team has already raised more money than ever before. I can’t even begin to tell you how thankful I am to have the love and support of such awesome people. Because I have Primary Progressive MS, I have a vested interest in MS research. PPMS has no FDA-approved treatments or disease-modifying medications, so all we can do is treat the symptoms.  This year, I’m asking everyone I know to skip one drink in my honor – a glass of wine, a pint of beer, a latte, a gallon of milk – and donate that amount (or more, if you like) to MS research. It could make a big difference in my future.

If you want to donate to Multiple Sclerosis Research, you can go to my Walk MS page here.  Even though the Walk will be held this Saturday (April 18, 2015), fundraising is ongoing, and donations are always welcome.

A million thanks to everyone who works hard to support those of us with MS  during Walk MS and throughout the course of every single day – there is no way we could do it without you!

happiness is a good MRI

Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, the kind of MS I have, is supposed to get steadily worse over time. While it’s true that my symptoms have never gone into remission – the stuff that’s been wrong with me for the last six years is still wrong with me – I have been incredibly lucky to have a slow-moving course of this scary disease. (May this good fortune continue!)

I recently had new MRIs of my brain and spinal cord done, and I got some fantastic news. But first, here’s a quick overview of the central nervous system to give you some idea of what I’m talking about. Continue reading “happiness is a good MRI”