I had my first session with the Physical Therapist today since my Mitochondrial Myopathy diagnosis. I’ve been to this same PT facility many times over the years, starting back when we took my mother when she was recovering from a broken hip. She was in the full throes of Alzheimer’s at that time, and they were super kind and gentle with her. His staff have helped me personally in the past with neck pain and difficulty walking.
So I knew if I called ahead of time and asked the director to call me and discuss my diagnosis before my first appointment – I knew he would do that. He actually called me on a Saturday! He said he had had several patients over the years whose ultimate diagnosis turned out to be Mitochondrial Myopathy, but that he would catch up on the current thinking about how to help me. He seemed confident that he could improve my neck muscle strength and alleviate the referred back pain I’ve been experiencing for some months now.
He spent the better part of 2 hours with me, asking lots of questions, and I could tell that he had truly been doing considerable research about Mito. I also shared with him some of the information I have found from MitoAction, too. His overall message to me was that he could help, but everything would have to be done very simply and slowly, with only a few minimal exercises at a time.
I’m to see him again this week on Friday, and he gave me a few extremely simple exercises to do twice a day for just a few repetitions. After spending some time with a TENS unit set up at very low volume with a large heat wrap around my neck at the same time, he then did a slow and very careful massage of my neck and back.
I asked very specifically if a reasonable ultimate goal for me would be able to sit in a regular chair and then the church pew for the 2 hours that Sunday School and church require. I currently take a muscle relaxer and pain med before going to church on Sunday, and I use the padded neck brace from the time we leave our house until we ear lunch. It’s not considered safe to try to eat while in the brace, due to possible choking, besides the fact that it’s very awkward to try to do so. I’m pretty much wiped out and in pain for the rest of the day.
Right now our church sanctuary is being renovated, and I sit in a regular chair in Sunday School, but I’m sitting in a high back upholstered chair from the vestibule during the church service we now hold in our Fellowship Hall. I explained that to him, and that I had recently had occasion to sit in another church on a padded pew, wearing the neck brace, for about an hour and a half and was in severe pain by the time we left.
He did not think I would ever be able to sit without head support through both Sunday School and church, even after PT. So that means we’re going to have to make arrangements to get a wing back upholstered chair for my Sunday School classroom. Then hopefully I’ll be able to tolerate sitting in a pew for the worship service without being in so much pain.
I had hoped he would say that in time he could rehabilitate my neck so sitting would not be such a problem, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. I’m glad he expects to be able to help me some. I’m thankful for that.
If you’ve read this far, I hope you’ve followed some of the links about World RARE Disease Day on Feb. 29th and found some way to spread the word about the need for more research funds. If you can donate – thank you!!