M.S.U. student spins her pain into a passion

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Sometimes, we all need a little motivation.

For Brianna Olszewski, that time came when she was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

“At that time, I didn’t really have any like motivation in myself to get better.” she said. “I was just kind of upset.”

Doctor Amit Sachdev specializes in CMT.

He said, “Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease is a disease of the nerves that help you feel and move and it’s a problem when those nerves were never designed right to begin with.”

“That caught me off guard because I mean that’s upsetting,” Olszewski said. “I don’t want to hear that I won’t be able to walk at 25.”

At age 17, the bones in her left foot started to deform to the point where she could not walk properly. 

The treatment plan included physical therapy and almost 5 months of serial casting.

“It was not the most comfortable process so I wanted a good outcome from it,” said Olszewski.

Then, she was introduced to a CMT friendly exercise. 

Some call it cycling. Some call it spinning.

Either way, it’s a workout and for CMT patients, it can be a form of physical therapy; pedaling helps the bones in the foot align properly.

Olszewski said, “I took that first class and I remember coming home and I was like, ‘This is it. This is what I want to do.'”

She increased her walking range back to normal and became a certified spin instructor.

“Just like to show people that even if you have a injury or disability, that shouldn’t limit you,” said Olszewski.

Now, the person who needed motivation is sharing it with others.

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