A Cane Can Help in the Battle Against MS

My wife says I am very competitive. In tennis, in board games, and even when we watch "Jeopardy!" She’s right. My brother and I were both raised with an eye towards competitive sports and to excel in school, and the urge to be our best is ingrained.

It’s an everyday battle

Life has become more stressful for everyone since the COVID-19 outbreak. Combined with stress from other sources, my wife Cathy’s otherwise steady condition has slipped over the last few years. She is able to take it in stride, and I try to be a good husband and care partner when it gets the best of her.

We are blessed to be able to take a nature walk together on most days. I am happy to hold her hand both out of affection and to help her maintain balance. One of our favorite activities on our walks is to activate the “Merlin” app on our phones that identifies the calls of the various birds we hear on our little journey.

We also use an app to count our steps. To take more than 3,000 steps on our walk is an excellent achievement and good for our health. But that is not every day, because MS is so unpredictable.

A great physical therapist can help

Using a cane is part of the battle against MS. It enables patients to walk, which is a cornerstone of independence. It can also reduce one’s fear of falling.

Another weapon against MS can be physical therapy. Cathy just completed a course of several months, and she was fortunate to have a therapist who was trained to work with MS patients. Sometimes when we walk and I let go of her hand to use my phone, Cathy keeps walking on her own for a pretty good distance.

This would not have been possible without an expert physical therapist assisting her.

What else can help, too

Walking and doing light exercises in the gym or at home can be tools to fight the effects of MS. For many, swimming or aquatic exercise classes may work, too.1

Also important is the patient’s state of mind. Being able to walk or swim can be uplifting to those who are unable to do some activities that they enjoyed before being diagnosed.

As for the cane, I hope Cathy needs to use it infrequently. But it is there to help her engage in everyday activities and to prevent her from falling. And to figuratively bash MS on the head.

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