Week 1 of Restoring Pathways is the first of a series written by Health Services Navigator, Teena Marie Johns. Here Johns shares some of her experiences living with Multiple Sclerosis as well as her observations and learnings of constructive health practices.

This weekend, I read an interesting discussion about the difference between compensatory therapy versus restorative therapy. It really touched on something within me and has helped me define what it is, in fact, that I am doing. I am restoring pathways. This means that it takes a lot longer, it is a much slower process, it takes time but in my opinion, it is well worth it.

Even though it is laborious, I would rather take the time to train my leg to move through in a forward motion rather than circumduct it out to the side. It means I have to concentrate on my foot drop and be ever vigilant not to trip. It means I have to feel solid on my new forearm crutches and use my core to help with the action.

The biggest thing it means is that I have to send positive messages to my body-saying things like I am restoring pathways rather than being a slow poke and holding people up at the elevator.

Chelsea, my exercise therapist, met me at the door in to work today to give me some confidence walking in with my new crutches. They are amazing and really make me feel more stable. But whenever I put something new into the mix, I have to figure it out.

As she said, she doesn’t do much but just having her there gives me confidence. Sometimes that’s all it takes. Plus, she keeps an eye out for running children and trolleys of equipment. (I’m a nurse at the Montreal Children’s).

It took 11 minutes to get in and 45 minutes to get out. Even though that is long to get out, I’m glad to have done it myself. It’s part of my restorative therapy.

Read the next post from Teena Marie on Restoring Pathways
Never Giving Up Hope

Teena Marie Johns is a registered nurse with over 35 years of expertise in the field of vaccination, pediatric infectious disease and more recently as a health service navigator. Living with MS since 1998, she manages her health through rehab therapy, meditation and Qi Gong.

Qigong is a form of Energy medicine. Considered a major branch of and precursor to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Qigong incorporates Mind-Body Interventions, and is also a Manipulative and Body Based Therapy.