Invincible Summer Within

“In the midst of winter, I found within me an invincible summer”

-Albert Camus

Despite the calendar month and the mercury rising, my recent past has felt much like a nuclear winter. After an incredible impact, I lie quiet and still among the fallout that surrounds me. I see but I do not digest, life moves on but I have stepped off the merry go round, a bystander to my own life.

But I want to ride.

As frightening as these last few months have been I gain nothing by watching the world go by. As Marianne Williamson once spoke,” Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightening about shrinking so that others around you will feel better, you are a child of God and you were meant to manifest His glory.”

So I am starting.

If I want a change I have to be that change. The law of averages is not in my favor should I choose to stay motionless so onward I move one tiny, almost unperceivable, step at a time. But it’s movement and it’s mine.

Hence the summer within.

 I am beginning to see the blooms beyond the thorns and the grass amidst the weeds, asking God to keep me grateful for all of my blessings. It can be extremely trying to stay cognizant of thanks when enduring physical pain and I have found strength and solace in both family and faith. Making every effort to not only look but see, I revel in every minuscule miracle before me, taking great comfort knowing that I will always be a child of God. He walks beside me through every trial and tribulation and akin to electricity flowing He courses through my veins propelling me to keep moving forward.

 So I am in motion.

 The great quandary I now face is how to keep my forward momentum when my faith wanes and my feet grow weary. Pain is an ominous adversary, capable of making even the most God fearing fall to their knees. I am no different. But thus far I have a 100 percent track record for getting back up and I keep that in mind on the days that try me.

 As I struggle to find the lesson in all of this I am realizing that perhaps the lesson has already come and in inching forward I am learning to trust, learning to believe and learning to accept.

 And so I am.

Give Back

I am often asked what keeps me motivated, especially on the inevitable ‘bad’ or trying days following Tysbari or a random spell. Aside from the obvious, my Lord and Savior, family and friends, it’s my involvement in this war we’ve waged against MS.

Fighting a war is a daunting task, especially when up against such a worthy and ominous adversary such as MS, but it is important to remember that you are not alone in this fight. I come across many who feel ineffectual when it comes to this battle as MS can be both overwhelming and intimidating, rendering us physically and emotionally fatigued. Take heart! This is a collective effort, one we are to support one another in accomplishing as no battle was ever won solo.

Admittedly, I was a bit uncertain where to start but eventually just chose a platform best suited for my abilities. It’s no secret that I love to write and, after having had a book published as well as a myriad of articles relating to health I decided to combat this disease via informing and uplifting the masses. Being a stay-at-home-wife affords me the opportunity to write when my health allows, as well, there’s something immensely satisfying about completing a piece in your pajamas! I wrote both for Endless Pursuit as well as The Multiple Sclerosis Society and find reaching people quite satisfying. The feedback I’ve received lets me know the little I am doing is making a large impact.

In addition, I enjoy fundraising. Last year I completed Walk MS with over 1500.00 in donations and I am slated to surpass that number this year. There’s a possibility I may not be able to participate in the walk itself but instead seeing that as a negative, I am choosing to do what I can. It is reassuring to know that money I’ve raised will help someone with medication or physician costs. Fundraising happens at all levels and is something you can easy achieve via the myriad of social media outlets, the majority of the money I raised was done so through Facebook.
Another avenue I have chosen to pursue is actually helping other people with MS on a more personal level. I have volunteered to give individuals rides to appointments and/or do some general errands. I know what it’s like to feel helpless and without means to accomplish any given task and gives me great pleasure to help in this way. There’s no greater form of ‘payment’ then a genuine hug or to hear someone’s very heartfelt, ‘thank you’

Laughter IS Good Medicine

"Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers and once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be you can survive it”  - Bill Cosby

Such a truism and one I have been made acutely aware of lately. While a myriad of lifes struggles have been particularly painful, I have found solace in my humor. Quite honestly, if someone asked me to look at the humor in any aspect in my life I most likely would have shot them that, ‘Really?” look before saying something I would surely regret. Ironically, my humor came out of hibernation amidst some huge stressors.

Despite my monthly infusions of Tysabri, I have slipped from Relapsing-Remitting to Primary-Progressive. I can feel the progression in my legs, my mind and most of all, my heart. I have been hit with a melancholy and wistfulness that make me quite blue and it takes every ounce of cognitive strength to will myself out of it. Getting out of a funk is an exercise in deliberation and determination and can leave you feeling weary. I was in such a state when Abby did something. I say something because what she did, in and of itself, was not funny. In fact it was quite annoying, hence, leaving me with a quandary. Do I take see this situation as a negative or a positive? Something within me just chose the latter and I began, much to my surprise, to laugh. Loud.

Humor is a weapon in our arsenal and we often forget its effectiveness in both making us happy and relieving stress. I have found it imperative to laugh amongst the tears and smile in my despair as it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Because I am sad doesn’t mean I have to forego feeling happiness. They are not coexistent yet mutually exclusive. I can hold both.

So can you.

This thing we call MS and the myriad of symptoms that mirror it can lead us down a dark road and we need to cull upon any source of happiness within. Interestingly enough, doing this is often a choice, one that can drastically alter our perception and, as they say, perception is everything. I am definitely not saying that our blues, struggles and troubles will up and disappear; rather, we will find hope in a wonderful coping mechanism.

Just to clarify the situation with Abby was as follows: Earlier in the day, Abby has counter surfed and absconded three pork chops. Upon arriving home I found only traces of the pink Styrofoam container strewn across the lawn and instead of getting mad I laughed. Not only did I smile thinking of her trying to contort her rather large Golden Retriever tummy over the granite counter, I laughed out loud at my stupidity at trusting her with them. Later that day she was carrying around something that resembled a dead bird. I was convinced of this all while trying to have her let go so I could dispose of it. Once she let go I approached only to find that this dead bird was really a dirt-dipped pork chop. She had buried the aforementioned pork chops.

I laughed deep and hard and you know what? It felt good.