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Beth Newsom

Team Captain May You Dance Walk MS: Denver 2022

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The dream—a world free of MS.

 
My life with MS since the virtual 2021 MS Walk: 

I have kept swimming – in fact, in 2021 I made a goal to swim 100 miles and I reached that goal in December. I’ve been told I stand and walk straighter now, and that is from swimming. I also got back to skiing after a year off, and this year was able to ski, standing up, for half-days which was exciting. My ski instructor, who has tethers attached my skis to help me ski, told me that I was making my own turns, even though I couldn’t feel myself making my own turns. I do remember another time, when I started to be able to lift my foot again, randomly, and I remember not being able to feel that at first (but now I can), so this seems like a similar thing. Maybe next year I will feel that I am making the turns myself. There is always hope.

 

And this year, additional humor is helpful:

 

I’m not getting younger, part 1: While simply taking off my ski boot one afternoon, my right upper arm made a loud “Pop!!” Sudden, excruciating pain followed the “Pop!!” and did not go away, but I made it home even though reaching for the steering wheel seemed to correlate with pain and tears the whole way home. Yes, it is true – I skied all day with no problems, but it was the taking off of the ski boot… “Pop!!” I am slowly improving and have been told I have an “unstable bicep.” This has nothing to do with MS except that I do use my arms more than the average person to compensate for my not-as-strong-as-I-would-like legs.

 

I’m not getting younger, part 2: After 2 years of right knee pain, I went to see a doctor about that pain, had an MRI, and was told my right knee is not in good shape (that’s the short version). The good news was that physical therapy could help!! Recently my physical therapist said “Your right quad is not strong enough for you to be able to bend your knee when you walk.” Most people know that using the word “not” with me is probably just going to result in me trying to prove them wrong. So, in true Beth style, I have figured out how to walk with a bent right knee, and my knee is feeling much better. This does have to do with MS – I continue to get stronger.

 

I’m not getting younger, part 3: it’s a story of a cat who wanted food and was incessantly meowing, so I tried to hurry to get the food. Result: the iPad escaped the counter and landed on my right foot. Ouch!! Did the cat care? Of course not. He is not a small cat and was still hungry. The iPad was fine, the cat was fed, and I survived. This has to do with MS in the sense an iPad landing directly on my foot caused my foot to have spasms  – a symptom of MS – for a long time.

 

Yes, I am still taking the miracle walking medicine that only seems to work really well for a few people with MS – and I am one of those people. My Bioness devices which have helped me walk a lot, over many years, aren’t used much – I only need one for my right leg now, and only when I have to walk a long way. I’m mostly walking with nothing (around the house), 1 or 2 hiking sticks, or my walker. I suppose my wheelchair is a bit lonely. 

More walking in Boston!! Lori got a scholarship to the Boston Conservatory to study musical theatre and started this fall. Dave helped her move, my mom and I visited her in October, and Dave and I are going visit her in late April/early May. Boston is a great city to walk!! In October, I spent a whole day walking through the parks there – it was beautiful. I have wanted to spend a whole day just walking through parks for a long time. From our Boston trip, I know that I can walk far, day or night, wind or no wind, up and down hills. I enjoyed it so much.

Thank you for sponsoring me in the MS Walk in the past over so many years. Please know that I appreciate each donation. Treatments for MS have continued to improve over the years, and I still hope for a day when there is no MS. In the meantime, I am incredibly grateful for the last 10+ years as I have gone from wheelchair, to walker, to hiking sticks, to no assistance; from leaning to standing straight; from having trouble writing to being able to write again; and much more.  

Love and peace to all.

Beth

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