A Basement Pool for Multiple Sclerosis Therapy
Nancy Swims to Manage Her MS Symptoms
One of the first things that Nancy will tell you is, "I am hard of hearing. I have two cochlear implants." The issue comes up as soon as you start a conversation. What's less apparent, though, is that Nancy has multiple sclerosis.
When people meet her, she reports, "They always notice that, compared to some other friends of theirs that have MS, I'm doing excellent. I hear that so many times from doctors and friends." She credits her mobility to her regular routine of swimming. "My doctor says that that has definitely helped me."
To keep swimming with on-demand convenience, Nancy installed an Endless Pools® Performance model in the walkout basement of her home in the Milwaukee suburbs. "I swim more," she declares. "I don't have to go out in the cold. I no longer have to pay the [YMCA] membership. I find I benefit so much better with it."
The Conveniences of Aquatic Therapy at Home
"I'm a former lifeguard," Nancy recalls. "I also taught swimming lessons all through college, so I was very much an active swimmer. I loved lap swimming. Even after I was diagnosed, I would go to the Y."
Public pools have their drawbacks, of course. They have limited hours, require a commute, and frequently get crowded. Her Endless Pools Performance model eliminated all of those obstacles, plus one other.
Nancy was not a fan of flip turns. Now that she swims against the Endless Pools current, "I love the fact that I don't have to turn around," she says. "I feel like I get a much better workout than I did when I would just swim laps." And that makes sense: Each flip turns interrupts the work of swimming and is followed by a long glide of inactivity before the stroke restarts.
Her home pool also frees her to use the pool for other purposes. "I also do more stretching and yoga in the pool. With the ear surgeries, balance is a problem, so exercise is much, much easier for me in the pool than on land."
A Pool for People Big & Small
The Performance pool comes standard with a 7-foot by 14-foot water area and a 42-inch depth. Nancy opted to customize her pool to 9 feet by 15 feet, with 54-inch depth, and it wasn't to accommodate herself.
"One of my sons is six-foot-eight, and he is also a former lifeguard. And my husband is six-foot-five" she says, adding, "I'm only five-eight." With Endless Pools' customization options, the rest of the family can swim comfortably too. "My husband has a bad back and has had back surgery, and for him, he also benefits" from regular swimming.
Nancy also selected our Automatic Security Cover. With the turn of a key, our automatic pool cover protects the pool from unwanted access and contains the heat and humidity of her basement pool. "For somebody like me with MS," Nancy says of the automatic pool cover, "it's a godsend. I am so glad we have it.
"Being a former lifeguard, safety issues are really important to me. And having that automatic cover, I can take the key with me," she reflects. "I just want to feel safe in my home. I have small children here for holidays and get-togethers, and I just feel better that I can take that [key], and they can't open it."
A Complex Diagnosis
"I have [had] eight ear surgeries," Nancy recounts. "It's calcium deposits in the ear. And my ear doctor was trying to figure out why I was losing so much of my hearing. He did an MRI and saw some spots on the brain. [We] followed up with it almost a year later, and I had more spots.
"So technically, I didn't have any physical symptoms of MS. It was in a roundabout way that they found out I had MS, and I was able to get on therapy really quick before I had any major flare ups. Some people have major problems first, but for me, that didn't happen."
After her diagnosis, now over 20 years ago, more problems arose. "I had optic neuritis – that's where you lose the vision in one of your eyes – problems with tingling in my legs, and fatigue. I have restless legs; I have sleep apnea, irritable bowel syndrome, et cetera."
Two Therapies, One Pool Room
Like anyone with a complex ailment, Nancy treats her multiple sclerosis with multiple therapies. Besides swimming, she says proudly, "I'm an artist." She combined her two MS lifestyle therapies by doing "a very nice artwork on the back of the pool.
"I do mosaic art, and it's with a fish theme. It's always nice to see some of my artwork back there. And the fact that it's mosaic, if it gets splashed, I don't care. People tell me it's very inviting to go into the pool and look at that."
Nancy's artwork is something that benefits from silent focus. "I am considered totally deaf without my cochlear implants, so art has been a savior too for me with my MS. I really believe in my art therapy. So, I have my swimming therapy and my art therapy right there."