Keeping My Eyes on the Prize

Keeping My Eyes on the Prize

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

You are invited to subscribe to my website at www.teresawrightjohnson.com.

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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.

14 comments

    • Teresa Wright-Johnson says:

      Hi Timothy,
      That is indeed one of my favorite verses. Thanks for reading the column and best wishes to you.

  1. Rob says:

    OK Miss Teresa, I’m what many would refer to as a “REDNECK”. Maybe because I REALLY DO have a shotgun, a rifle, and a 4 wheel drive, such as Hank Williams describes a “COUNTRY BOY”, I guess that’s me. So I’m not one for all fancy smancy or whatever. HOWEVER, when it comes to “YOU” and your ability to “WRITE”, I’m left somewhat BREATHLESS each time I read your articles. You have what I can only think of as an EXTREMELY “ELOQUENT” way of writing. I’ve NEVER BEEN a person to actually “READ” books, especially if there’s a movie! HA! You have a special gift of being able to speak to “ME” in language that makes me FEEL LIKE I’M THERE, or I’m REALLY EXPERIENCING it. It’s so easy reading ANYTHING you’ve written…. Keep your eyes on the prize, but keep those fingers popped & limber, cause this country boy looks forward to reading anything you write!

    • Teresa Wright-Johnson says:

      Hi Rob,
      Once again you’ve made me smile! Your response to the columns and words of encouragement inspire me. I will continue to write because of special people like you. I wish you the best in 2019.

  2. Pauline Phelps says:

    Thank you so much for your New Year column. I will now keep my eyes on the prize! I had a wonderful Christmas present, a new Granddaughter. My son-in-law kindly drove my husband and I on a 5 hour journey to see her, my daughter and all the family. There was so much love in the house and I knew that I must try to keep as well as I possibly could so that I would see my 2 granddaughters thrive and be happy!

    • Teresa Wright-Johnson says:

      Hi Pauline!
      Happy New Year to you. Thanks for taking the time to read the column. I appreciate your. Also, thanks for sharing your story. You are courageous and strong. Blessings to you, your grandchildren and family.

  3. Karen K Jackson says:

    Love your mantra and yes indeed we must “keep our eye on the prize”
    iConquerMS is a gift for all no matter the stakeholder,

  4. Laura says:

    Wow. Just simply wow. Your way with words inspires me each and every time I read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing yourself so honestly with all of us.

    • Teresa Wright-Johnson says:

      My Dearest Brenda,
      Thanks for reading the column and for being a sister and friend in life. I appreciate you.

  5. Susannah Barney says:

    Hi Teresa, just came across this site and so happy I did. I would fight for my patients as a nurse in being their cheerleader and advocate to better health and recovery. Now I no longer practice as a nurse and you have reminded me that it’s okay to fight for myself and cheer onward down my path. I sure do appreciate you sharing your insight. Sending happy vibes your way, Susannah

    • Teresa Wright-Johnson says:

      Hi Susannah,
      Thanks so much for reading and responding to the column. I am happy that the words resonated with you. Continue to fight for yourself and take the time you need. Also, reflect on the lives you’ve touched as a nurse with your encouraging words. You are an inspiration. Best wishes to you and yours.

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