This is My Life

-Pamela Lee

“Back in 2020, I was coming here [to help with my MS diagnosis and then a knee injury] and I made a lot of progress… and I stopped. During that time, there wasn’t any noticeable disease progression, but functionally I was declining. Like, going upstairs, it was easier to just drag my leg up rather than trying to lift it. I got complacent. You kind of feel like, ‘Well, yeah. I guess this is my life. I’ve got this disease. I’ll look funny when I go upstairs. OK, fine.’ But then you think, ‘If in fact my disease modifying therapies are working and my brain looks stable, then why am I functionally declining?’”

“So it was actually my neurologist who said to me, ‘Why don’t you go back to Cioffredi’s? Just go back. It’s time for you to put this front center because it doesn’t have to be like this. It’s not a matter of the disease. This is a matter of you getting out of practice.’“

“Having someone say ‘This is what you need to work on. This is what you need to activate. This is what you need to do,’ has been really helpful. It’s tough to motivate yourself and stay focused. I’ve been working with Aleksey and it’s been really interesting as he has a more academic kind of take on things. Like, earlier I was telling him I was having this strange sensation in my foot from when my neural sleeve* fired and I thought, ‘Huh, well that’s different.’ So we took some time together to look through pictures of the nerve to see where they run and connect and how it all worked. It was really cool.”

Pamela uses the Neural Sleeve (pictured), a wearable device that continually analyses her movements, providing functional electrical stimulation to help activate appropriate muscles when they are needed.

Pamela Lee with Aleksey Lavrinenko, PT at the Cioffredi & Associates Lebanon, NH Clinic

“And now we’re making progress. Believe it or not, one of the most helpful things is just having some level of accountability. I know there’s someone who’s expecting me to keep up with everything. It’s so easy to kind of fall off from that, like I did before. Setting realistic goals for myself helps there too. Like one of my first goals was to navigate around the kitchen at dinner time, not using my sticks or anything. And I’m like, ‘OK, that’s cool!’ Find the achievable little things and celebrate them. Don’t set something that you know you’re going to fail and lose momentum.“

“Now, I want to be able to take my dog on longer walks. Not just making circles in the driveway. It’s a big deal for me. I’ve always loved to trail walk, but ever since all this, I’ve had difficulty managing uneven surfaces. So this year, I booked a trip to California for the fall. We’re going wine tasting and I’m going to be able to walk around Napa. It’s really motivating for me to have that kind of tangible goal. I have something I’m pointing to; it’s not just my daily life.”

 

Advice for others navigating a chronic condition or similar?

“Try not to become complacent. Like, I know it’s hard. It’s really hard. But stay engaged, set achievable goals, and celebrate the little things.” -Pamela Lee

Meet the Cioffredi & Associates Physical Therapy Team:

Our Team

Learn more about the Cioffredi & Associates Orthopedic Physical Therapy Service:

Orthopedic Physical Therapy

 

This article first appeared in the March 2024 Cioffredi & Associates Newsletter:

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