Welcome to the new year!
I am grateful for the opportunity to open my eyes and still have the gift of life. Many did not make it into 2019. Those who have transitioned are remembered with love and respect.
Last year, I made a happiness jar. The intent was to deposit feel-good thoughts and ideas into the jar and reflect on them as the year ended. It must be said that my jar of happiness made a huge impact in the last few days of the year.
The day after Christmas, I was stricken by a cold. Those of us with compromised immune systems know how devastating a cold can be. I was forced to rest my body, remain hydrated, and reflect on all the things that happened in 2018. I opened my jar of happiness and began to read each folded piece of encouragement. The first message read: “Keep your eyes on the prize. You’re a winner.”
I smiled as I read this. I recalled all of the difficulties the year presented, from illness to death to depression, and I recounted all the good days in between. My note made me realize that when life appeared to get the better of me, I persisted. In other words, the prize was survival, and I won those battles that attempted to decimate me. I may have been frayed, unsteady, and discouraged, but I did not give up. The intent of this week’s column is to encourage you to keep your eyes on the prize because there is a winner in you.
Even in the midst of the turmoil and difficulty I encountered last year, it has been an incredibly humbling and life-changing experience. I was afforded opportunities to speak my truth and expand the outreach of my advocacy. I met some really incredible people and participated in some extraordinary initiatives.
Life obliges that I remain steadfast in hope, consistent with prayer, and diligent with my work and time. Confirmed is the spirit of resilience and the commitment to keep going against all odds, even when all I wanted to do was surrender. It is understood that keeping my eyes on the prize is a conscious, intentional act. It is a learned behavior that is accomplished through consistency.
There is something to be said about living my best life, not in spite of MS, but despite MS. The prize is believing that I can and will thrive when doing so was improbable. The prize is sharing my story so that others are liberated and encouraged to share theirs. The prize is using my experience to improve my life and the lives of others. Ultimately, the prize is finding my way through the murky, tempestuous waters of multiple sclerosis, fighting the good fight until a cure is found. Thus, the ultimate prize is a cure for MS and the ability to withstand all that is encountered in search of one, until it is discovered.
Pivotal advancements are made each year. Many are committed to this cause. Since my MS diagnosis in 2014, the FDA has approved more therapies for MS, such as Ocrevus. Notably, Ocrevus is the first therapy of its kind to treat both primary progressive and relapsing-remitting MS.
Fully comprehending all that has been accomplished in the fight to improve the lives of those living with MS has solidified my desire to persevere. How can I not be optimistic about the future when advances are being made every day? Also pivotal is the progress being made by the revolutionary iConquerMS organization. These collaborations and advancements could not occur without the focus, commitment, and clear vision of dedicated people.
In closing, I will endure keeping my eyes on the prize. I will continue to use my voice and my life because it is required. To all my fellow warriors and survivors, keep your eyes on the prize. Set small goals and accomplish them. Never give up. You are made with the magic that defines winners. Resiliency, tenacity, and hope. MS will not win. Let’s make 2019 the best year ever.
“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.” –Nelson Mandela
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Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.