Today is the 12th anniversary of my receiving a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (MS). In honor of that blessed day I want to share a small portion of my new book, Be Your Own Superhero: A Road Map to Resilience when Faced with Chronic Dis-ease in the hope that it will bring comfort and inspiration to others who may be suffering from chronic stress or illness as well as encourage you to read/share my book. I promise it will be life-changing for the positive!
Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny – C.S. Lewis
My Message to MS After Diagnosis
You entered my life out of the blue in 2006, like a freight train derailing at top speed, and changed everything. You put me on the road less traveled; one that I would have ignored otherwise. As much as I tried to stay the course of my normal existence, you pushed me in the direction of another – the one truly meant for me even though I didn’t recognize it at the time.
As I navigated this new life path, you tried with all your might to knock me down, but I refused to fall. Through your challenging lessons you have shown me that I am not weak but strong; not hopeless but determined; and not diseased but healthy for me. You have become an integral part of me and although I occasionally stumble, I always pick myself up, dust myself off and start anew. You may always be the proverbial “elephant in the room” but I have learned to look past your oversized body and see everything else for the blessings they are.
When you first came into my life many people asked me, “Why you?” and my reply was simple: “Because I can handle it.” I find your entering my life to be the greatest gift I ever received. You awakened within me a strength I didn’t realize I had and taught me to live the life I want, not the one others think I should. You taught me a greater empathy for others who live their lives in constant suffering and gave me the tools to pass on my knowledge to help them be their own best advocates in order to live well. You also taught me what I have known all along even though I didn’t consciously realize it: when chaos arrives at my front door I do not panic. I respond with resilience.
Learning to overcome adversity is truly one of life’s gifts. When faced with a challenge there is always an opportunity that lies within that can be discovered by Getting clear, Increasing understanding, Focusing and Taking action (G.I.F.T.). You offered me an opportunity, and through it I discovered my purpose of being and am able to live my best, healthiest life. Thanks to you I have come into my own. And although it is a long road to accepting and coming to terms with your existence, I know I have the courage and faith necessary to thrive.
Through my story I will teach others how to navigate their life’s journey to their best ability by sharing how I traverse each step, each stumble and each giant leap, walking together down the path of life, taking that road less traveled.
Be Present | Be Purposeful | Be Well