“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt ~
Many people with Multiple Sclerosis find it difficult to be thankful for the pain and suffering that their bodies endure as the disease progresses. Finding the courage to be thankful when your body is riddled with aches, spasms, throbbing pain and spasticity can seem almost impossible and irrational and one may ask;
“How can there be any thankfulness or a stitch of gratitude for this living hell I am enduring”?
“How can I be thankful with all this going on in my life and I have no control over it and there is no cure?”
“You must be crazy to think I enjoy this pain!”
It may be true, that you’re surrounded by pain, obstacles medically and physically then, wherever you look, finding that as time moves on things become more and more difficult to manage, especially when tears happen more than smiles. I walk that path often, I get it. I understand the struggles. Our lives are a constant collision course of change and uncertainty.
Every day I too struggle to find thankfulness, and yes, it is hard. What I do is look back at my life before this day, this moment, when I feel all sense of hope and thankfulness is not in me. I look back at everything I have managed to come through over the last 5 decades. I have stared death in the face multiple times. I have nearly crossed over into the realm of pain ridden insanity, but made it through each time. I have experienced heartaches, heartbreaks. I have walked the fine line between heaven and hell medically more than once, and live to recall it.
Sure I never want to relive those moments, but when I take a mental glance back, I see hope. I was a superhero without a cape. I survived. I got this! The wisdom I gained, the endurance I acquired and the courage to be strong makes me a warrior of mass proportions because I didn’t give up. That is a worthy thing to be very thankful for.
I still find it hard to be thankful when I am hurting, and I usually don’t find it easy. Just as I don’t find it easy to go to the doctor and have all the testing and lab work, needles and prodding done frequently, but the reward is worth it. I am reminded I am still alive.
I can never give up hope and allow this pain and progression to consume me. I can never blind myself to the beauty of still breathing and allow the heaviness of my circumstances to outweigh seeing how wonderful it is to have woken up this morning, and each other morning, knowing that I can fight this pain, because I have life.
I have grown to learn that my pain has had a way of changing my life for the good, because I let it. I certainly don’t give thanks for having Multiple Sclerosis, heck no, I wouldn’t wish it on even my worst enemy, although some deserve to suffer more than me. But I am grateful for the lessons it has taught me and will continue to teach me daily. I want to always approach life with the perspective that if I can be thankful, being a stronger warrior and fighter when things progress, I will be mentally able to better handle them.
I could sit and spend the rest of my life being angry that I have Multiple Sclerosis, or I can be thankful for the pain, because the pain means I can still feel. I am still alive, I still have purpose, whether I know what that purpose is in life or not, I have it.
Each day when I wake up and before I think of the obstacles and challenges my day may hold, I stop to mentally list at least a few things I have to be thankful for. I already know a few things I will most likely have to complain about, but why not start my day on a positive note?
Each day I also give thanks to the awesome and supportive people in my life that encourage me to press on, even when my get up and go seems to have gotten up and bailed on me. I know that they will always be here for me, cheering me on, and dragging me forward, when I forget my armor of determination and my sword of courage.
So for those suffering medical conditions like Multiple Sclerosis and debilitating diseases that curse your day with unforgiving pain, try to look back in your life to where you were and how you fought like a champion to be where you are now. You, like me, did not give up. You’re a warrior, be thankful for your fighting determination!
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