Living with MS (multiple sclerosis) for the last 28 years has come with many challenges. But one thing is for sure, making time to work my body proved to be an essential key to maintaining my sense of strength and well-being. Throughout the years, Pilates really helped me to build up my leg strength, keep my gait looking natural, strengthen my core and support my mobility. You would never know I had MS if you saw me, that is until one class back in Nov. 2018 that changed my life.
“How could Pilates do this? I thought Pilates was good for you,” people would ask, shocked.
One wrong move was all it took. And in that one fateful moment, it happened to me. I fell back, without any grace or control, hyperextending my right side backward. I remember thinking to myself, “Yikes, that didn’t feel right.” Ever the trooper, I finished the class.
The next day, my husband and I took off on a five-hour flight to see our kids in Toronto for a few days. It was very apparent while visiting back east that the right side of my body had started to really bother me and become very uncomfortable. In desperation, I visited a neighbor friend of our daughters, a physiotherapist who took me into her basement onto her table to assess me and give me some exercises to do.
Now, back home in BC, we prepare to depart in our motorhome to the Baja, Mexico. It’s Dec. 1, 2018 and we have planned this road trip over the past year. Despite my uncomfortable body, we stick to our two-month plan of driving thru the states to our final destination, a beautiful beach in the Baja. Blazing down the interstate in our motorhome towing a cargo trailer with our bikes, kayak, 4×4, fishing rods, and little Tolly by my side, sitting and siting for miles and miles, I had no idea what was happening to me and my body.
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Having arrived at the beautiful paradise we’d found 3600 km from home, we settled into our new beachfront RV spot which would be home for the next month. Only a few feet from the coral waters on a white sandy beach, we fished every day, collected shells, painted, and hung out with my folks who had convoyed down with us in their motorhome. We enjoyed a really simple Christmas with family, new friends, homemade gifts and a Baja-style turkey dinner. I made sure I spent time every day on my yoga mat to work out the uncomfortableness that was manifesting more and more day by day.
I had my on-the-road Pilates routine to work through, and by now I was in touch with my instructor, keeping her abreast of my very sore, injured body.
It was a warm morning standing at the counter preparing my coffee when I found myself standing high up on my toes on my right foot. Unconsciously, I had started hiking my right leg up to level off the pelvis. Things were starting to really torque, and walking was becoming more and more arduous.
It was now January 15, 2019, and the time had come to return home. The only relief I had been able to source out had been one session the day before with a healer man at his home in Loreto. He had treated my side and back by a pressure point technique and cupping with a lighter and glass jars. My body had never felt so much relief. At the time I’d danced my way back to my friend’s car for a two-hour drive back to the beach. Now it was time to say our goodbyes to all our new friends and hit the road, northbound, headed home.
Two weeks later, on February 1st, we arrive back to the Sunshine Coast and its all I can do to get dropped off at the nearest chiropractor. I limp my painfully crooked body through the front doors and, as they say, “Let the games begin!” Here it is I begin my quest for healing.
“Someone has got to be able to fix me,” I keep telling myself. I’m visibly crooked, in agonizing pain, and growing increasingly desperate to find a solution with each passing day.
Being a full-time realtor is really going to be interesting now. With no relief or improvement from the first chiropractor, I continue to search for the next professional to fix me. The Sunshine Coast has no shortage of body workers, so as I’m in full pursuit of saving myself, my Pilates instructor asks if I would start back again with classes. I reply, “I can hardly walk. I must fix my body before heading back to class.”
As I worsened, I still worked and tried to keep up with all the tasks and chores of my everyday life, pulling me deep into a major health crisis. Putting this injury on top of my MS was a proven recipe for disaster and a grueling existence. Off to the doctors for some pain meds, and a massage was next on my list. As I lay on the table my massage therapist said, “I didn’t know you had scoliosis” (curvature of the spine). I said, “I don’t.” She replied, “Yes you do.” My head began spinning. What to do next? Where to go? Who to see? My mission proved to be extremely exhaustive over 1.5 years and counting.
Just parked, I reach for another dose of CBD oil before making the slow calculated steps to my desk, trying to walk as normally as possible and conceal the inner turbulence and pain. I continue to persevere through my life as a realtor, all the while seeking fixes from physiotherapists, chiropractors, network spinal analysis technique, deep needling, physicians, myoskeletal alignment therapists, shiatsu, acupuncture, float tanks, ortho bionomy, osteopathy, Vancouver rehab doctors, Botox injections into back muscles, CT scans, MRI scans, bone scans, ultrasounds, inversion tables, PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic frequencies) and cannabis therapy.
I was referred back to a different local Pilates studio specializing in scolio-Pilates via zoom. This body state has left me with limited space for anything else other than that which will serve me and my exhausted body, and more than ever before it’s taking a toll on my mental health.
In the last 18 months since the injury, I have seen my darkest days. After seeing all these wonderful caring therapists and spending over $12,000, I have come to the realization that this journey is far from over and it will be up to me. Tuning in more and more inwardly, I have taken up Taoist Tai Chi and enrolled in a mindfulness-based course led by Gibson’s Dr. Gupta.
This healing path towards greater awareness, wisdom, and connectedness is my new road to me helping me, a skill that will last my lifetime.
Through this ongoing trauma will come my personal transformation, one that grounds me to my new reality in the here and now, and helps me on this path to purpose. With every step I take, I am reminded of my fight and the warrior woman I have become.
I can relate with all you warriors, navigating life through health challenges and adversity. I can feel your pain and suffering. I am also reminded that every day offers new blessings, opportunities and miracles. I will continue to put in the time and energy into my body, mind and spirit. It’s our spirit that will carry us in the tough times, keeping us in the light.
Stay in the light, my friends. Stay kind to yourself. And until next time, hugs.