When You Live With Duchenne, Healthy Choices Are Vital

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by Hawken Miller |

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Sir Isaac Newton’s third law of motion states that for every action on an object there is an equal and opposite reaction.

In 1686, his law was groundbreaking, but in 2021, we take its simplicity for granted. There is a consequence for every action taken. When a bullet discharges from a handgun, its recoil forces the shooter’s wrist back.

We can take what Newton said and apply it to our lives with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Failing to wear night splints or do physical therapy results in tight and sore muscles. Eating salty food makes us gain more weight because of steroids. Going to bed late without wearing a BiPAP machine makes us more tired the next day.

Lately, I’ve realized what we do has a real-life impact on our health and well-being. That idea has prompted me to work harder to stay on top of my health. I’m not going to single-handedly cure Duchenne, but I can make healthy choices so that I feel energized throughout the day.

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The idea that everything we do has an equal and opposite reaction resonates with me because it shows how much weight our choices have in determining the output of our lives.

If I procrastinate while writing this column, for example, the prose will be lacking and my thought process will be hard to follow. By writing it ahead of time, I’ll give myself time to self-edit and fully flesh out the topic I decide on pursuing.

When we make the easy choice to slack off on our health, work, or relationships, we shouldn’t be surprised when things go awry. My dad always says, “We are perfect for the results that occur.” That statement couldn’t be any truer.

Sometimes even when we make what seem like the best possible decisions, the world still collapses on top of us. But at least we’ll know we tried our best. Sometimes things are out of our control.

The Stoic philosopher Epictetus said it well: “Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens.”

It’s important to focus on taking control of what you can — your decisions, for example — and leaving the rest up to God or fate, depending on your belief.

With Duchenne, we have no physical power, but we retain the ability to make our own choices. These choices are never easy, but the consequences of not making the right decisions are even worse.

You also have to look at your choices from a broad perspective — one could say from a “Hawk’s-Eye View.” In the short term, playing video games 24/7 will provide a nice spike in dopamine. In the long term, I’d lose my job and wouldn’t be on top of ordering my medications, scheduling doctor appointments, or learning how to improve my health, and I’d miss out on building my relationships with my family and friends.

As an adult, I’ve realized that consequences — or as Newton says, an equal and opposite force — are real, and they can either be good or bad. It all depends on the choices we make.


Note: Muscular Dystrophy News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Muscular Dystrophy News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to muscular dystrophy.


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