One big positive that has come out of having multiple sclerosis is learning to appreciate so many things that I used to take for granted. When I went for my last run, I really appreciated the fact that I could still do it, knowing that it wouldn’t be long before I couldn’t anymore.
I hadn’t ridden a bicycle for years and kind of thought that I wouldn’t be able to, given my balance issues with my MS. When my son got a new bike from santa claus, my wife encouraged me to get one as well so that we could go riding together. I was skeptical. We went to a local REI store and I was shocked at how much a decent new bicycle costs. It seemed a bit risky to spend so much on something that I might bring home and immediately realize that I can’t use.
However, just like with the running issue, I decided that I had to give it a try. If I assumed that I couldn’t, and later found out that I could have been riding with my kids for years but just didn’t try, I would be very upset. So I anted up and brought home the overpriced but very fancy bike.
I am so glad that I did. It turns out that I don’t really have an issue with balance at all. Just with walking. The MS causes weakness and reduced coordination in my leg that effectively causes balance issues. But in reality, my sense of balance is fine. The problem is just in my leg’s ability to follow directions from the brain that is the problem.
When you ride a bike, at least recreationally around the block with your son, your legs don’t really get involved much in keeping it balanced. It’s mostly your arms and shifting your upper body. Both of which are mostly unaffected by my MS. To my surprise, while I have a hard time standing and walking without wobbling like a drunk, I have no problem with balancing on a bicycle at all. What a wonderful discovery!
Yet one more thing that I appreciate being able to do, ten times as much as I would have pre-diagnosis.