31 Days of MS: A Positive Mind Leaves Little Room for Negativity

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31 Days of MS | Multiple Sclerosis News Today | 31 Days 2022 graphic
Ken Bach - 31 Days of MS

Photo courtesy of Ken Bach

Day 21 of 31

This is Ken Bach’s (@kens.ms.fitmess) story:

Ten years ago, on the day my youngest son was born, I woke up unable to move my right arm. A month later, results from an MRI confirmed my suspicions and showed nine active lesions on my brain and three on my spine. The following year, I went blind three times, my legs were partially paralyzed, and I had significant numbness, facial ticks, fatigue, and other issues.

It was a shocking start to the illness. I was sick, tired, weak, and depressed. However, I began focusing on health and fitness and it changed my mindset, my body, and, I believe, my disease progression.

Most MS studies are often far from conclusive, but the dozens focused on exercise show the myriad ways it can improve quality of life for those with MS. Exercise strengthens the muscles that enable walking. It also eases fatigue, boosts mood, and affects many other health markers. There’s even evidence that physical activity might help slow MS damage in the brain. I recognize we all have different physical abilities, with MS or not. Spending 10 to 15 minutes to get your heart rate up, your face flushed, and your body a bit sweaty can make a significant difference in health.

I’ve learned if you don’t make time for your wellness, you’ll be forced to make time for your illness. Despite the significant physical toll MS has taken on me, my most difficult battle has been a mental one. My solution has been to focus on healthy pursuits, which left less room for the all-consuming thoughts of negativity. The mind is like a book — it only has so much room for words and thoughts. Fill it with positivity and the negativity will shrink, I promise!

At 41, I am learning to ski with my boys, while still hitting personal records in the gym. I am 6 feet, 3 inches tall, 220 pounds, with 13% body fat. I am strong, I am fit, I am successful, I am happy, and I have multiple sclerosis.

Multiple Sclerosis News Today’s 31 Days of MS campaign will publish one story per day for Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month in March. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofMS, or read the full series.

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