Since I got the diagnosis, I have made a few changes to help me deal with the impending difficulties. I suspect that each of us has our own plan to fight ataxia (no such plan is a plan too!). And while I normally approve of each of us’ s right to feel awful and free to decide for ourselves, I consider the lack of any preventive action to be stupid. I’m sorry. But since you are here and reading this blog, this is some step in becoming more familiar with ataxia. Maybe you are not ready to face it yet. Or you think it’s too late. It is not. Keep trying.
My daily basic plan looks like this:
• Coenzyme Q10 (400mg – I would like to take two times more but they are very expensive)
• Alpha Lipoic Acid (300 mg)
• Acetyl L-Carnitine (500mg)
• Balance B-200 Complex (for brain boost)
• Vitamin D (2000 IU)
The first three are known to power up mitochondria; vitamin B is said to be good for the brain, and vitamin D is good for health in general. I have thyroid problems and I am a vegetarian so this vitamin is especially important in my case.
Drinking with a twisted straw can improve many functions, including integration of the cerebral hemispheres, binocularity, reduce sensitivity to light, sound, improve pronunciation, control the work of the tongue and mouth. I started drinking through a twisted straw because I used to work with autistic people and I recommended it to some after learning about the Handle method.
In general, it looks like this: I put a straw in a glass of water and drink it. If the curl is too hard, use the regular one. I take water because it is easy to wash the straw afterward. When I drink, I pull my cheeks hard in order to have additional difficulty.
After visiting a speech therapist, I got some ideas on how to exercise my tongue and lips. These are all kinds of tongue weird things that you can do.
Reading for 10 minutes
The neurologist told me to do this a few years ago, and it’s nice. If you have children then you can read to them so it can be nicely combined. I always choose children’s books and sometimes even play with voice modulation, reading sometimes louder and sometimes I whisper.
After a few months of the above tongue exercises, I stopped having problems with choking and swallowing, and my lung strength increased. I speak clearly all the time and control the volume of speech.
Hand motor exercises
I have quite weak hands and unfortunately, I haven’t come up with anything that I could do with them. Usually, I practice their strength with this device:
I squeeze my hand for 3 seconds and let go. I do this ten times.
Exercises for the muscles of the hands
Another thing – I grab a 2 kg dumbbell and lift it several times to train my biceps. Nothing fancy.
5 minutes on the stepper
A stepper is a great piece of equipment for someone who has little space in the house and does not always have time to go out. This is an option of a condensed walk. You don’t have to go anywhere or look for some fancy equipment, but jump on the stepper for a few minutes and stretch your calves.
This plan takes me about half an hour. Half an hour every day. Meanwhile, the coffee cools down as it waits for me. Sometimes in the evening, as part of relaxation, you can do some activities that affect the precision of the hand – like coloring, writing in the journal, drawing, playing with Lego blocks, knitting, even playing on the computer or gamepad. Adjust everything to your own abilities and try to do at least a minimum. For me, writing is the hardest. If you can’t write, just draw circles. Or dashes. Anything. Exercise and it will pay off.