Mike - Wessex MS Therapy Centre
Mike was diagnosed with MS in 2000. A chance sighting of a sign for his local MS centre led to a massive improvement in his quality of life.
Seven years ago I moved to Warminster in Wiltshire to live near my son and I passed a building with the words Wessex Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre written on the side. I had been diagnosed with MS 16 years previously, so we dropped in to see what they had to offer.
My son and I were blown away by the friendly, helpful atmosphere offered by this small charity. It’s managed by paid staff with lots of volunteers helping with the day to day running of the centre. Since becoming a member I now volunteer myself as a receptionist two days a week.
Even though I love my volunteering days as a receptionist, where I feel useful and needed (and there is plenty of room for my wheelchair behind the desk) I really enjoy a Monday when I have regular therapies.
I start with physiotherapy. The gym is equipped with all mod cons including therabikes, a treadmill, standing frames, an easy-stand glider and a Tyrostation. The Tyrostation is a brand-new piece of equipment that works both physically and cognitively with my MS body and brain.
After physio I always feel stronger. I know that by working on my core strengths I will be able to sit for longer, and they are working hard to help me walk again.
I then join the seated cardio silent disco. This is brilliant for those of us in wheelchairs (actually it’s brilliant for everyone!) The headphones help you to get lost in the music, whilst exercising the upper body and arms. You can even sing along, and no-one can hear you because everyone in the room is also wearing headphones.
After a break for lunch I have oxygen therapy. I can’t tell you how good oxygen therapy is for my MS. It helps to relieve my joint pains and helps me to manage my muscle spasms. I no longer feel so fatigued and since I started weekly sessions my brain fog has almost completely gone.
For the last session of the day I join the singing circle with a music therapist. Singing isn’t something I ever thought I would get involved in, but when I learnt the therapist works hard on strengthening vocal cords, breathing exercises and lung capacity, I knew it would be good for my MS.
During 2020 I was in hospital with Covid for eight months. I ended up in the intensive care unit for several weeks, and even now I feel lucky to be alive. More than anything else, I know it is the care, support and kindness I get from everyone at the therapy centre that has got me back to good health.
I don’t like having MS and I could sit at home feeling sorry for myself, becoming more and more disabled - which is exactly what I was doing before I found my local therapy centre. But now I feel in control of my MS and it is thanks to everyone at the centre that it really has improved the quality of my life. I am forever grateful.