by Kate Della-Vedova
KDV: How did we come to meet each other?
Professor: I think we met about 2 years ago in your capacity as a volunteer for MS Queensland, you came with a physiotherapist and assisted him in some of the physiotherapy that he did with me…
KDV: Then we started changing things up a little while ago, didn’t we?
Professor: Well yeah, after getting the NDIS and after you graduating from University and started your own company I have really come to like the strength exercises you were doing with me and as a consequence I decided to engage you and your company Neuro Strength as one of the service providers for me and I am most certainly very pleased with the outcome because now after a good year and a half I think of working with you in a professional capacity- KDV: I was always professional! Even though I was a volunteer!
Professor: Most certainly you were and are! *laughter* My condition is progressive I have multiple sclerosis and it is a rare occasion where I can say things have truly gotten better for me and I can say that after 1 and a half years – thanks in large part to the exercise program you devised.
KDV: Well the progress we’ve made as a team together, now we’re bench pressing, doing yoga, you’re an Olympic weightlifter – which was a very hard sell to you, remember?!
Professor: Yes I remember I was not particularly keen on some of the exercises you came up with but I have to admit in retrospect there was method to the madness and it worked very nicely for me because some of the exercises worked muscles were different from the muscles that I thought would be exercised; and I got to reconnect with some of those muscles that I thought were lost!
KDV: You found out they were actually there..
Professor: Yes they were just sleeping!
KDV: It’s been a life changing experience working with you, it really has; as much as I’ve been helping you- you’ve been helping me.
Professor: Well that’s fantastic, thank you very much!
KDV: I thank the spirit of the universe to see your strength now and being more confident, open to new opportunities… You never thought of yourself as a boxer did you? I incorporated it as boxing is all about improving your rate of force production and that was what I wanted for you, increased neural command. When you say you’re getting stronger it’s because your brain has gotten stronger… with a stronger brain you have a stronger body! Last week when you were boxing with our boxing coach you had quite a lot of power!
Professor: That was quite an experience that I thought I would not ever experience, given where I am health wise.
KDV: You’re an athlete, Professor.
Professor: I thought it was fantastic and I was able to engage some muscles that I didn’t have a lot of command over and this was a great experience and psychologically a good experience, I’d never thought of myself as a boxer-
KDV: Or an Olympic weightlifter!
Professor: Or an Olympic weightlifter, that is true! But it is kind of a refreshing experience mentally as well.
KDV: To know that your strength is there, you just need the capacity to access it and that can come from different sources, you can be inspired by anything or anyone so long as they have the right, solid experience. And of course you would not have thought a boxing coach, given they get so many hits to the head would facilitate that; although the way a proper boxing coach trains you is different to the way an Olympic weightlifting coach trains you.
Professor: Well yes, most certainly, and one of the things I really value in our exercise program is that in my mind there is a lot of cross training going on, it’s not all focused on one thing or another it’s a variety of different skills and exercises that we’re working on and they all have the same goal of strengthening my muscles and maybe strengthening the connection between the brain and those muscles and I think it’s been a great success.
KDV: I think you should be very proud of yourself for sticking the course, for showing up, for following instructions and humouring me!
Professor: Well thank you very much! And I’m looking forward to seeing where this journey will lead us and the sky is the limit in what I envision will be possible in the next couple of years.