One Sunday afternoon at a fitness center in San Jose, a chorus of yelling and cheering can be heard: “Leave me alone. I don’t know this man. This man in the blue shirt is bothering me. Go away.”
It sounds like someone is being seriously threatened but instead it’s eight women demonstrating what they’ve learned after 22 hours of self defense training with Impact Bay Area, at the Morning Crane Healing Arts and Fitness Center.
Melanie Rowen was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in her late twenties. She remembers the first symptoms, such as bad vision and physical numbness, and her unsuccessful attempts to diagnose herself. As an attorney, normal tasks like writing briefs and remembering what was said at meetings suddenly became much more difficult.
The cost to treat the disease is over $700 a month. Rowen describes in detail how she deals with these financial burdens while trying to forge a new identity for herself.
Just over a week ago, gusts up to 65 miles per hour toppled trees and power lines around the Bay Area and wreaked havoc on coastal roads. Winds that strong here can classify somewhere between a tropical storm. While they let up for the rest of the week, they returned Monday night, in force.