‘’I would like to see ANOTHER well articulated, inspirational piece of work coming out soon. Your endeavor to help others should act opposite to the Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility ’’ said readers who were the influential spirits behind me keeping up with the flow of communication on Isaac Syndrome, a diverse disorder as a result of muscular hyperactivity.
My previous story on the ‘Experience and Resolution of a Rare Disease’ was an attempt to pen down information on various aspects involved in coping with daily life and to inspire other patients like me, suffering from Isaac Syndrome. Motivated by comments I received about this and other stories I have shared about my personal struggles and triumphs, I would like to share another piece of wisdom gained from my experience.
Purpose of this inscription
I recently saw this epic film, Forrest Gump, again, but this time it took my imagination on a ride. A couple of years back, I had taken up Table Tennis to recover successfully from my workload, it was a rejuvenating experience. It’s like a drug-free high-vitality sport without the risk of collision injuries where finding out what your opponent is thinking does matter. My racket, by now, had gathered dust when I decided to rerun this episode of my life, this time trying to conquer my health setbacks with the only apprehension being my mum’s best china!
Your idea of fun will change
So that’s how I found myself one fine day getting a TT table installed at my place in an attempt to overcome years of pain and stiffness in my muscles.
The initial assessment of my hand movement was made by a close friend who qualified in fine motor skills and had experience in ‘Sports Medicine’ (a term explained, as we proceed). I visited a qualified table tennis specialist with an idea of not leaving any stone unturned and getting the right quality advice before taking up the sport. The only constant thought running in my mind was to try my best.
Finally the day arrived when I decided to try out my new racket and the newly installed table. I decided to wear my activity tracker band which seemed promising to record my personal metrics. I found it way ahead in gauging my personality and constantly pushing me to new limits. Recuperation methods are faster these days, but it is still essential to improve flexibility as a crucial part of the overall treatment regime.
Struggling at first, all of a sudden, my muscle memories got activated and reran old episodes of playing with friends where we roared, ran around like hooligans, being as loud as possible and eating our favorite course during breaks. I still feel grateful for this sudden moment. I started to concentrate on watching the flight of the ball, bouncing towards me from the other side. It abruptly changed directions and I started to lose sight of it for splits of a second. I slowly indulged myself in proving that whatever I lacked in talent I could show in stamina. Initially to skate on this ice was like dodging a bullet, finding myself on one side trying hard to beat my opponent for a win but I took it as any other therapy.
During playing sessions, I still have to take unwanted breaks but would like to believe that resistance is slowly building up; if not at-least it makes me feel like a warrior for some time. Every shot I hit takes me closer to feeling a notch healthier.
I discreetly recollect one of my sessions, where I met my nightmare of having a severe back spasm, which knocked me down for three days, completely out of action. It made me realize why NASA studies said that table tennis is the most difficult sport to practice because of its complexity in the use of muscles, more than 80% from feet to neck. The wish of bouncing back was so powerful that it got me to high spirits on the very forth day.
My longest rally without break was around 6 minutes which almost took me to some celestial space but exhausted me the very seventh minute. As I come towards the end of my narration, I’m still trying to attain a good acceleration and grip over a strong synergy between the sport and myself.
My story raises a couple of interesting questions, at-least in my mind, based on the current circumstances:
- When and how did my game change for the better?
- Did the impact of the initial set-back leave me stronger than before?
The only answer was to keep learning and building stronger experiences, but a few key messages to take away are clear:
- Change is indeed possible
- You can use today’s technology to your benefit
- Focus on postures can reduce pain and increase fun
- Taking up a sport can add to your disciplined lifestyle
- Re-educating oneself about the condition and modifying habits is benefitial
- Understand the difference between what ‘you should do’ and what you ‘can do’!
The Shadow Analogy
I started to draw out analogies between taking up a match in table tennis & Isaac Syndrome. My conclusions were:
- Someone who is grateful for his defeat in a match or his pain, is set to win and recov
- If there is no challenge, moving up the ladder is like day-dreaming.
- There are two ways to conclude a match or battling a disease, you’re either in or ou
- Being deprived of winning a game or any suffering is just a temporary phenomenon, it might be for some time but if we quit, it becomes a habit and lasts forev
- There’s a thin red line: For us to move faster in life, situations need to get out of contro
- Heroes in the sports field and those battling any ailment have much in common.
- Find something that gives joy, and the joy will burn away the pai
- Be in control: One’s grip is an important aspect (in a game or a life situation).
An interesting theory: What is Sports Medicine?
It’s a specialization which amalgamates both the medical field & fitness. It studies medical related principles with sports science to prevent injury and promote healing.
‘Competing for a trophy’ is old, let’s walk the talk and get counted.
Though it currently seems far-fetched but this article is a small initiative to ignite the national conversation around alternative, drug-free therapy.
Editor’s Note: We thank Mr. Shah (name changed) for coming forth and sharing stories of his experience of living with Issac’s Syndrome (also known as Isaacs-Mertens syndrome, continuous muscle fiber activity syndrome, and quantal squander syndrome).