Wednesday, April 16, 2014

MuckFest MS 2014


About me, and my reasons for running:

As an active person my diagnosis with MS was extremely difficult. Some of my friends may remember how much I struggled to find answers for why I suddenly could not run and kick a soccer ball at the same time. I would literally fall over in the middle of the field. I remember one of the refs who we would often see, look over at me on the bench and ask, 'Are you injured?'. I think I was too tired to do other than just nod. Middle of the game, my eyes would go all blurry and it was a struggle to sit up straight.

After a few months of testing and questioning I was diagnosed conclusively with MS by way of MRI and a couple of spinal taps. The good news was that a week of steroids had pushed back the inflammation in my brain so that I was nearly back to normal - about 95%!

It is still a continual struggle against all sorts of different challenges: numb/burning feet, tight hamstrings/calves, tingling lower back and problems with balance. All minor but they have added up to be a really heavy burden. Worse, they are not going anywhere. Unless treatment improves I will constantly be feeling worse - rescued by steroids - and back to the same cycle. We need better treatment. Right now I am taking a weekly injection, and hoping to be able to move to multiple daily doses of an oral medication in January.

(November 2012) It has been a few years since my last relapse and I am riding a massive wave of motivation. This past year I trained and completed a half-marathon and have firmly planted running into my routine. I love to run, but here is where it gets complicated again. Because of my MS my legs are tight, in particular the beloved Ilio-Tibial Band. Apparently the tightness (spasticity in medical terms) has caused my right kneecap (patella) to move out of alignment. As a runner who was trying to pack on more miles to train for the marathon, that meant knee pain. I'm currently out of training and running and patiently waiting for my Physical Therapy to start tomorrow, December 28 

(July 2013) I am now taking the oral medication, twice a day. No more shots, but it has it's own side effects and it is quite a challenge to stay on the program every day.

(January 2014) I am taking liberal doses of P90X3 because I don't want to fall off any more monkey bars - ever! And one day I would like to complete a Hercules Hoist :)

(April 2014) I'm now training in any number of ways, in better shape than ever, and continuing to stay ahead of my MS. It still has challenges, certain things never get better or worse (feet burning pain, bladder), certain things just steadily decline (balance, agility), but I stay moving and every accomplishment is sweeter.

Competing in obstacle races has been a blessing. I can do this even without the athletic skills I need for soccer, most of the challenges are either endurance, strength, or gross motor. The feeling of attempting to perform a soccer skill, knowing how it feels in my body, and envisioning it in my mind - then simply failing to accomplish what I know that I should - was becoming really difficult. Racing is much simpler, but I still enjoy the feeling of teamwork and camaraderie thanks to my team, the New England Spahtens. I have made new friends, motivated and been motivated by, so many people thanks to my team. I hope I can continue to compete and enjoy myself!


And a handful of other races - such as Rugged Maniac, read about it here: 


I am fully addicted to OCR. I've also completed two 26.2 mile rucks to benefit Carry The Fallen. I've made so many great friends, it is hard to describe the feeling of camaraderie that we share - it is uplifting.

Thanks for reading and considering a donation, thanks to my wife, family and friends for always being there for me.


 -mike

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