Living with MS (Multiple Sclerosis)



How I’m Living Well With MS, a Decade After My Diagnosis

I wanted to help myself win against MS, but I’m so glad I didn’t stop there.

author-avatarBy David Lyons

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Kendra and David Lyons pose at their fitness and wellness center in Murrieta, California.
Kendra and David Lyons pose at their fitness and wellness center in Murrieta, California.
Robert Randall

It’s been more than 11 years now since my diagnosis with multiple sclerosis (MS), and nearly 10 years since I stepped back into the gym on my mission to beat MS through bodybuilding and fitness.

So far, it’s been a remarkable ride, with highlights ranging from competing in a bodybuilding competition in 2009, to starting the MS Fitness Challenge (MSFC) charity in 2012 (in partnership with my wife, Kendra) and receiving the Health Advocate Lifetime Achievement Award from Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2015.

MS Fitness Challenge Reaches Across the Globe

I am particularly excited to see how far the MS Fitness Challenge — a charitable program created to educate people with multiple sclerosis on fitness, nutrition, and maintaining a positive mindset — has expanded since Kendra and I founded it.

I am now working with and helping people with MS as far away from my base in California as South Africa and Switzerland, designing personal fitness programs, motivating people to fight MS through changing their lifestyle, and supporting them in their efforts to conquer this disease.

At the same time, I am waging my own war with MS on my preferred battlefield — the gym — and training for an award I will be receiving from the International Bodybuilding & Fitness Federation as I head toward my 60th birthday in 2019.

It's an honor and a privilege to serve as an encouragement to so many people with MS worldwide and to be acknowledged for my accomplishments on this journey with and for MS.

I never look at this MS voyage as one I am on alone or that is about me. The thousands of amazing and courageous people with MS I have met along the way have made this a “family” effort to positively impact lives. I am humbled, I am grateful, and I am blessed beyond belief to have you all in my life. Sharing my life, my triumphs, and my struggles with you has had such a positive impact on me and continues to do so. It has inspired me to continue to create more ways to connect with and be of service to the MS community, as well as driven me to keep setting new goals in the gym.

MS Symptoms Continue to Pose Their Own Challenges

But MS has continue to throw up its own challenges along the way, including the symptoms we all deal with, like overwhelming fatigue, numbness, pain, coordination issues, and cognitive difficulties. I also had a relapse this year that set me back a few months.

We are in a unique group together. One that has its ups and downs and places us all in a fight with an unpredictable enemy we often don’t understand. So although fitness, nutrition, and mindset all play a powerful role in making our life’s passage with MS easier, healthier, and more productive, we still face obstacles on this path.

There is no cure for MS — yet. But we can feed our minds and bodies as best as possible to keep it at bay, and make no mistake: It makes a tremendous difference in the quality of our lives.

How I Spread the Word About Staying Fit With MS

I have set out to be an example of determination and drive, not only to prove I can beat MS, but also to push you, educate you, and support you in your journey. I want to prove to you that you can do it: You can beat MS. This, my MS family, is why it is so important for me to share my MS story with you.

To achieve this, I have used many platforms, including the MS Fitness Challenge blog on Everyday Health, to keep you up to date on my MS journey and also to bring you stories of other remarkable people who are accomplishing their fitness goals while living with MS.

Among the other ways I’ve communicated my message are:

Working Together Makes All the Difference

It’s a bit ironic that I did not start out to accomplish what I have. All I wanted to do, after my diagnosis, was to be a bodybuilder!

But thanks to Kendra, who helps me immeasurably as I continue to come up with more ways to add to my already packed schedule, I have been able to reach and impact more people with MS than I originally knew existed, who want to change their lives and get fit.

The lifelong relationships that have resulted from this work have blessed me. And from going from an initially selfish motive to a continually selfless one, I have strengthened my own passion to be the finest I can be, in and out of the gym, MS or not.

Today I am in my gym, OptimalBody Personal Fitness, seeing our “challenged” members transform their bodies and their lives through proper exercise, nutrition, and positive thinking, while I train with them, side by side, in preparation for standing on that bodybuilding stage again to receive my next award. I have come out of my MS relapse stronger, wiser, and more determined by the attempt of MS to permanently sideline me to show this disease that I and my MS family can and will defeat it.

I encourage others impacted by MS, whether you are a patient, family member, caregiver, or friend, to share the stories of your personal MS journey with the people you meet. Your stories make a difference, and if it helps just one person with MS to make a positive change in their life, they are well worth sharing.

Now, together, let’s conquer MS!

Last Updated:11/9/2017
Important:The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not Everyday Health.
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Date: 14.12.2018, 17:15 / Views: 51132