Case Study: Rebecca is Living with MS, and Still Connecting
   Maureen McHugh, Feldenkrais Practitioner                                           703-751-2111

Living with MS, and Still Connecting
by Rebecca S.

December 2005

On my 29th birthday, in July 2002, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

The diagnosis came as a shock. I was a young woman living life on the fast track. Shortly before my birthday, I had returned home from a stressful business trip to Germany. During that trip I had worked 28 hours in 44 hours. Now, back at home in the summer heat, I was wearing, as usual, high-heeled sandals. But my right foot kept tossing its shoe away from me. My brain couldnít control it, and it was a very odd feeling.

Gradually, within a week, I couldnít move my right leg at all. It simply didnít respond to my brainís commands. I was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with MS. After 10 days in the hospital I was able to walk again and was released. I felt good being able to walk again, but I knew that nothing was the same anymore -- whether I wanted to admit it or not.

I immediately threw away or donated all my high heel shoes; I wanted to feel the ground I was walking on. I had lost so much confidence in my capability to simply walk. Something as common and taken-for-granted to any human being from the age of 9 or 10 months was new to me.

My Physical Therapist recommended the Feldenkrais Method to me. Although I had never heard of it, at that point there was nothing I could lose by trying anything that might help.

It was a couple months after the diagnosis that I had my first Feldenkrais session. I loved it immediately. I have been continuing with a mixture of private and group classes for 3 years now. Here is one mark of progress that I treasure: ó on my 32nd birthday I wore shoes with a 5 inch heel all day long! And with complete confidence!

It is an on-going work, which I cannot afford to stop. My brain and my body have to be in touch with each other and trust each other in any movement that Iím making. During vacations, or other times when I am away from Feldenkrais sessions for a few weeks, or when I am experiencing a lot of stress, my body becomes insecure again. I know it by how I feel when I walk. It is only when I have been back in regular Feldenkrais sessions for a few weeks that I feel ďIím back again.Ē

MS causes a disconnect between our brain and other parts of our body. I have learned that I can help my brain reconnect and improve the communication.