I started taking Ampyra (the walking pill) the middle of August. Today I read an article in Multiple Sclerosis News Today discussing the merits, advantages, and the efficacy of Ampyra. As with any medication, it works for some and not others. A friend was in the clinical trials for the drug, but it didn’t work for him. I have been very pleased with the results I am seeing. Here are a couple of entries from my blog that discussed the immediate results.
9.7.16 I told you three weeks ago how the new medication, Ampyra, was working for me. I continue to see good improvement. As living with MS goes, I have good days and bad days, but I definitely see great strides.
However, it’s like learning how to walk all over again. You know how you walk with your heel hitting the ground first and then you roll your foot up to the toe and then push off the ground to take the next step? Well I haven’t been able to do that with my right leg for about five years. So now that I can, it’s like learning how to walk all over again. It feels very weird, and yet I’m excited about the enhanced range of motion.
I am using my cane less and less. Today I was at the Billy Graham Training Center for a meeting. Usually I use my cane, because it is a very large building. Today I intentionally left the cane in the car, and was able to walk quite a ways. And It felt good to do so.
I’m finding that I can eat with my right hand now, but I forget to switch to my right hand. I have developed such muscle memory for using my left hand and walking flat-footed that I need to retrain my muscles. Muscle memory, or also called motor learning, is a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition.
10.28.16 I went to see my neurologist yesterday for a routine appointment. She was very please with my walking. I explained to her how weird it feels to walk correctly now, after almost 5 years of walking with the drop foot.
I haven’t really tried to go fast yet, but on Wednesday I decided to try it out. It was in a parking lot, and it was fairly flat. I walked in a straight line, and feel really good about the increased speed.
I also walked to our clubhouse yesterday, on our very steep and uneven street. I intentionally did not take my cane with me, and I felt very stable and had a good foot action. I’m continuing to be very happy with the new medicine. I would much rather God heal me, but until that happens I’m glad that this medicine is working very well!
Today–One of the things the article discusses is the long-term benefits. They are seeing some people in their trials to continue to improve over time. I am finding that out as well. I don’t have to think so much about my walking. It has become more natural. Previously I had to think about every single step and how my foot was touching the ground, or not. It is certainly not perfect, and that may be due to my caution than anything else. I’ve had a lot of falls over the last five years so I’m still very cautious.
I still use my cane when I’m in a restaurant or on uneven ground, because my balance doesn’t seem to have improved. Have you ever tried to maneuver from the door to the dining room at a Cracker Barrel? I think it’s hard even for persons that are non-disabled. I don’t walk as well when I have my cane because I have a tendency to lean on the cane. But in places where there’s a lot of people I feel that a cane is a sign to others that I don’t have as much balance and agility as a non-disabled person.
I was very hopeful after reading the article. I really don’t like taking the medications that are helping to diminish some of my symptoms. But every one that I’m taking so far has had really good results. I would like God to heal me instantaneously. There seems to be more lessons I need to learn before that happens! I just rest in His presence and focus on Him and not what I can see with my eyes!!