Novi man battling MS refuses to slow down

In Health Works, a Novi man battles MS with exercise.

Multiple sclerosis has robbed Dave Bielenda of his ability to walk but he refuses to allow MS to stop him.

For the 51-year-old Novi man who used to train for triathlons, life looks very different.

"The best way to describe it is a light bulb slowly going out," he said.

His disease showed up in 2003 when he was lifting weights and suddenly struggled to see.

"All of the sudden my right eye, I couldn't really see out of," he remembers.

Days later, the father and husband was diagnosed with MS, an auto immune disorder that destroys nerve fibers in the brain.

Dr. Matthew Voci is a neurologist who explains the how it blocks communication between the brain and body.

"The brain has a bunch of nerve fibers that are like electrical cords," he said. "The copper wire with the insulation around it. If you strip the insulation, there's no signal. MS is the same thing,"

As the years go by, Dave struggles more to move, first using a cane and his son's shoulder. But eventually severe leg weakness forces him to use a scooter. Still, Dave refuses to stop working out. 

FOX 2's Deena Centofanti caught up with Dave at his spin cycling class at Lifetime Fitness in Novi, and it was Dave who got this adaptive bike moved into this room.

The pedals are powered with hands, giving Dave and others with disabilities that chance to work out with the class. 

"I love being with a group of people and loud music and everything else," Dave said.

Dr. Voci will tell you exercise is critical for people with MS.

"The body with MS has been weakened and when we get weak we're less active," he said. "When we're less active, we become more debilitated."

Dave looks at his unpredictable future with one certainty.

"Just as long as I can keep muscles moving, my brain moving, my eyes moving," he said. "I'm good."

There's also something called Yoga Moves MS, which is yoga designed for people with MS. You can find that class schedule here.

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