“Pressurecising”

How often have you heard something similar to this? “It is important to exercise.  It doesn’t matter what you do because any exercising helps.”  Who could argue?

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At every visit, Physicians try to compel me to exercise by asking if I am doing any exercising.  I also have the self-imposed pressure of societal expectations about exercising:  Heck, I live in Colorado!  Coloradans are big on outdoor activities and a focus on healthy lifestyles. However, the pressure to exercise (pressurecising) has little effect on me, other than I feel guilty about not exercising.  I am just not motivated.

People who are not self-motivated to exercise when they are healthy, will probably find it incredibly difficult when poor health gets in the way.

In my “healthy” years, before the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS), the only way I consistently exercised was to arrange with someone to go bicycle riding or meet to play racquetball.  That worked.  I actually showed-up because I had made a commitment to the other person who relied on me to be there and I enjoyed it.  The few times I exercised by myself never lasted very long.  I simply do not enjoy it.

Now that I have MS, I discovered a new stumbling block: exercising with strangers.  Well-meaning trainers and strangers exercising with me tried to urge me on.  Telling them I have MS was as effective as describing a color to a person blind from birth.  Understandably, they did not comprehend and for heaven’s sake, if I tried to elaborate, it would have been an exercise-in-futility.

I do not want to draw attention to myself but desperately want others to understand MS just a little bit.

Unfortunately, most people are misinformed.  They might try to relate to me by telling about “an Aunt who died from MS.”  Far too many people mistakenly believe MS is a death sentence instead of an impairment that ranges from minor to severe physical and/or cognitive difficulties.

When well-meaning people try being cheerleaders, they don’t understand my lack of movement is not because I need encouragement or help but my muscles won’t respond and I am also trying to keep from becoming fatigued.  I might still try but if I am not careful, I risk injury.

After years of searching for the most appropriate exercise, I eventually assumed the slow and deliberate movements of Tai Chi would be perfect.  Wrong.

On two occasions, I attended a Tai Chi for Arthritis class at our community recreation center but certainly, no one else had multiple sclerosis.  Even with Tai Chi’s slow deliberate movements, my cognitive issues still caused problems in comprehending and copying the positions of the torso, arms, hands, legs, and feet, then transitioning to the next position.  Although the transitions were made slowly, the instructor was going on to the next movement before I figured out the positions for the first movement.  I could not keep up and quickly became physically and mentally fatigued and stressed.

Mistake #1: I did not speak with the instructor BEFORE joining the class.
As with many people who have MS, I appear generally healthy, so he had no idea I had MS and struggle with the movements because of my impaired cognition and physical abilities.

Mistake #2:  Telling a well-meaning classmate, who was urging me on, I had MS.  Many people simply cannot relate to what MS is and does to a person.  She kept encouraging me to do things because she did not comprehend why I was not trying a movement.  Unwittingly, she only increased my frustration, stress, and embarrassment.

Focusing on the instructor’s movements allowed me to learn without making the movement.  Neither the instructor nor classmates understood that sometimes I had to just watch to learn and keep from being fatigued or falling.

Even with Tai Chi’s slow movements, my MS issues with cognition, coordination, dexterity, balance and falling were significant.  The result: I abandoned exercising.  Unwise for anyone, regardless of their health.  However, wisdom is not the province of will power.

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Medical Exemption Program – 2017

The COLORADO MEDICAL EXEMPTION PROGRAM (CMEP) is a means-tested assistance program that runs from June through September sponsored by Xcel Energy. It provides a discounted rate on energy for individuals who live with heat sensitive medical conditions.

The Chronic Care Collaborative (CCC) is finishing the packets for the 2017 application period and hopes to have these ready the first week of March. You can also find the application and information on the CCC website.

Contact Libby (Libby.Taylor@ccc-co.org) for more information or applications.

Chronic Disease Awareness Day at the Capitol – Denver

Once, it was simply called MS Day at the Capitol but in the last couple of years, it has expanded to encompass 34 volunteer health organizations that cover a wide variety of diseases and re-titled, “Chronic Disease Awareness Day at the Capitol.”

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From the Chronic Disease Collaborative (CCC) website:

Thursday, March 9, 2017 @ 7:30 A.M.

What: Chronic Disease Awareness Day: Celebrating Milestones

When: Thursday, March 9th. Registration begins at 7:30 A.M.  Program begins at 8:00 A.M.

Where:  We begin the morning with registration and breakfast at The First Baptist Church, 1373 Grant St, Denver, CO 80203 for brief advocacy training and an opportunity to develop your story and your talking points.

We will proceed across the street to the State Capitol, 1410 Grant St, Denver, CO 80203 to meet our state legislators. Afterward, join us for a box lunch and brief presentation in the Old Supreme Court Chambers.

Chronic Disease Awareness Day helps educate our legislators about Chronic Diseases and healthcare issues in Colorado. This is your opportunity to share your stories and show your support for those living with Chronic Diseases.

Register HERE

Family and friends are always welcome.

We hope to see you there!

WalkMS 2016 – Denver

538  WalkMS 2016
Early morning prep on event day in the meadow to the west of the Museum.

For the 3rd year in a row, 70/Four70 staffed a men’s group information table at WalkMS on Saturday, April 30, 2016 in Denver’s City Park.

The event was held on a cold and lightly snowing spring morning however, spirits were still up-beat and energetic.  Musician and performer, David Osmond (son of Alan) of the famous entertainment family, sang an inspiring rendition of the National Anthem before the first RunMS Denver 5K.  The run was the first ever to kick-off the WalkMS festivities in Denver.

Ending multiple sclerosis for good will take all of us. It’s why WalkMS matters so much.  And it’s why you matter so much.  WalkMS helps us team up with friends, loved ones and co-workers to change the world for everyone affected by MS.  Together, we become a powerful force.  And with every step we take, every dollar we raise . . . we’re that much closer. Together, we will end MS forever.”

Thank you to all who participated by running, walking, fundraising, donating, and/or volunteering in the quest to find the cure for MS.

Pictured below are three members of the
70/Four70 MS Men’s Group:

535 WalkMS 2016 - Efraim Rivera-George Fischer-Kirk Williams
E. Rivera, G. Fischer, K. Williams

MS Elevation Conference 2016

It is time in the Rocky Mountains for a new event specifically for Men with MS.

Sponsored by the CO-WY Chapter of the National MS Society, Dave Pflueger, 2016 Men’s MS Event Chairman, is in the midst of planning just such an event along with a number of men who also have MS (multiple sclerosis) from several MS Mens groups.

With the working title, “MSElevation Conference,” the event will feature discussions of the status of MS treatments and impacts of MS specifically on men who have multiple sclerosis.

Why an event specifically for men with MS?

Men view and cope with MS differently than women: The Mars & Venus disparity.  According to the National MS Society, “MS is at least two to three times more common in women than in men, suggesting that hormones may also play a significant role in determining susceptibility to MS.  And some recent studies have suggested that the female to male ratio may be as high as three or four to one.”  [Ref Summarizing epidemiological estimates] Since women comprise the majority of people who have MS, it is understandable that few events focus on the impact of the disease on men with MS.

Scheduled for Saturday, September 10, 2016, at Coors Field, in Denver, Colorado, the keynote speaker and further details will be announced in the near future.

Pflueger personally raised substantial “seed” money to help fund this 2016 event and was also a member of the planning committee for the 2012 event.

For more information, contact the Colorado-Wyoming National Multiple Sclerosis Society by phoning (303) 698-7400 or emailing co-wyreceptionist@nmss.org


HISTORY:
The last such event was held on September 29, 2012.  It too, was sponsored by the CO-WY Chapter of the National MS Society and planned by its Denver MS Mens Group.  Called “Kicking at the Uprights: the Male MS Challenge,” the event was held in the press room of Sports Authority Field at Mile High (home of the Denver Broncos) and attendance was at full capacity.

Renowned sports psychology consultant, Jack Llewellyn, PhD, was the 2012 event’s keynote speaker.  Llewellyn gained national acclaim as instrumental in turning around the 1991 season and career of Cy Young Award-winning pitcher, John Smoltz, of the Atlanta Braves.  Llewellyn also has MS and helps people correctly focus on the right processes to reach goals, thrive on stress, and recover quickly from adversity in order to become top performers.

Aging with MS: What to expect

The article below is from the NMSS on-line magazine, Momentum.

As people who live with MS age, they may find its effects changing, particularly if they’ve been living with the disease for decades. Sometimes it’s difficult to determine whether changing symptoms are the result of progression or normal aging. This article helps readers better evaluate the situation—and get appropriate treatment.

Source: Aging with MS – Momentum Magazine Online