More MS news articles for Jan 2002

KEEP THE CHANGE : Keeping Active Despite Disability

THE TRICK Take up water exercise

Tuesday, January 22, 2002; Page HE02
Geri Davis, Temple Hills

THE STORY As a longtime licensed practical nurse, I've always practiced what I preach. I've always been physically active, doing yoga, tai chi, aerobics and more. When I was in the military, I was one of two women who earned the physical fitness badge for maxing out the PT test and beating all the guys.

Then in December 1999, after having symptoms for a while, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I went into a funk. I was no longer able to jog or do aerobic walking. I had to stop taking part in the March of Dimes walk and the Race for the Cure. That really hurt. When you're dealing with disability and you're only 45, it changes your whole life. Then one day I decided to maximize the things I can do instead of dwelling on the things I can't. I started to get fiercely into water aerobics.

Now, two or three times a week I go the the pool at Prince George's Community College with all my equipment: my flotation belt, aqua shoes, goggles, water weights. It really has helped me a great deal. In my little section at the 13-foot mark, I work out, swimming, turning, twisting, kicking -- I try to challenge myself. The lifeguards look forward to seeing me; I put on a little show, I guess. It's very invigorating. Now I wake up with a smile. My walking isn't good sometimes; I stumble, wobble and have twitches. But as long as I am among the living, I can enjoy things to the best of my ability.

© 2002 The Washington Post Company