Real Life Stories of MS

Newton’s first law of motion – An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion.

Contribution by Cassidy Gertis – Certified Personal and Group Trainer and Holistic Health Coach

Cassidy Gertis is a certified personal and group trainer along with certified holistic health coach. She got involved in ChangeMS after witnessing first hand what exercise and nutrition can do for those with MS. Her goal is to spread the education of health and wellness in hopes to better the lifestyle of living with MS.


One of my favorite sayings, “A body in motion stays in motion”, so simple yet so true. Working in the fitness field I cannot express this law enough. The problem with society today is we have become too lenient. Yes we are a society of GO GO GO…work work work and no sleep, but yet we go about this in a stagnant way. Most of us today just don’t move enough! We sit in offices and pound away at numbers and keys; we sit and stare at the computer and research things we don’t even need to be researching! I am guilty of that myself; Yes I will sit down and just write this blog, 5 minutes later on Facebook, “What! Sarah is pregnant!”, “Awww they’re engaged!”, “I wonder what’s new on Netflix right now??” We all get sucked into the world of technology in which we find ourselves sitting for prolonged periods of time. As an average American, this is a dangerous trap to fall into, but even more so for those who have Multiple Sclerosis. Through my years as a personal trainer and within the last 5 years of working with those with MS and joining forces with the ChangeMS family, I have personally witnessed what a difference fitness, activity, movement and clean eating can do for them! I have dealt with many disbelievers who think there is no hope and to those people I am sorry. I am sorry I can’t help you see the benefits that an active lifestyle can have on your overall life. To those who have listened, took a chance and put discomfort, excuses, a sorrow behind them….well I am not sorry for they are the ones who are thanking me each and every day for the “New” them that has arisen.

No I do not personally have MS. No I do not personally deal with the insurance hardships, the medications, the aches, the pains, the depression and the constant battle that comes with this disease. But I do personally go through it with my clients. I watch as they struggle with balance and coordination on one day, vertigo the next day, and then a day where they just feel awesome and strong like they can conquer the disease and conquer the world. My clients with MS have their good days and they have their bad days, but who doesn’t!? I can honestly say the biggest battle that I see with clients who have MS is the “Believe” factor. You are hit with this news and you are made to believe that this is the end. No, this is the beginning! The beginning of a new life where “You” comes first! The beginnings of a new life where you are awoken to your own feelings, aches, and emotions! It’s sad to say that a lot of times it takes a horrific event, accident, disease or near death experience for people to open their eyes to life and how to actually live it! Working out and being active helps in so many ways. It can help with flexibility which will ultimately help with range of motion and decrease aches and pains. Helps build strength and bone density. Decreases inflammation and even helps with mood and increases energy!

My very first client came to me about 5 years ago. She sat in the office in tears with her walker by her side. She told me how she was wheelchair bound and then she got the news that her daughter was getting married in a year and so she started to slowly transition by going on short walks and using a few machines at the gym which got her out of the wheelchair and into the walker, but she was at a standstill and knew she needed professional help so as not to hurt herself. I asked her what her goal was and she looked me dead in the eye and said “I want to dance with my daughter at her wedding, just me, no equipment”. I was hesitant; I have never worked with anyone with MS much less did I know much about it. I went home and I researched and researched some more. I listened to testimonials and wrote out programs of the best exercises to do for those with MS. I learned about the caution of overheating and fatigue It was going to be a new style of training for me, but I was ready. Within just the first few weeks I saw her stability increase. In a few months her strength increased and her coordination and balance improved day by day. Within 6 months away went the walker and in came the cane! As her strength, power, balance, and coordination came along I knew it was time to take the next step, her eating! I do not put anyone on a diet. This is a lifestyle change, diets are made to fail, why do you think there is over 100 varieties of diets out there?? So we started having her transition into whole foods, cut out the processed and fried food and cut down the wheat and diary. Now the weight started to melt off and her energy levels amplified, but more importantly…no more flare ups! To shorten this story, in one years’ time, when my client came into the gym and I asked her how the wedding was, she beamed ear to ear and said “Cassidy, I danced from beginning to end with no cane. I was able to enjoy my daughter’s wedding in no pain, my life is and forever will be changed. Thank you for letting me see that MS does not control me!”.

Since that time, I have had the pleasure of training more than a dozen clients with MS. Their stories are all similar. Yes, everyone is at a different stage with their MS, but everyone is at a different stage with their fitness as well. No matter your stage of MS or fitness, the importance of movement, flexibility, healthy eating and energy are all the same. I am so blessed to have found my way into working with the ChangeMS family. I even had the opportunity to work with 7 amazing individuals for a 3 month challenge of exercise and clean eating. This challenge allowed me to see what a difference a healthy lifestyle change can have on a individual – not just physically, but emotionally and mentally as well. Do not let MS defeat you. Do not let MS be the deciding factor on whether you are going to lay in bed all day or get up and get a move on for the day. Finally, do NOT let MS be your EXCUSE!

Yes, you have MS, but you also have a life… live it!