31 Days of MS: We Are All Stronger Than We Think

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31 Days of MS | Multiple Sclerosis News Today | 31 Days 2022 graphic

Photo courtesy of Rennie Rankin

Day 14 of 31

This is  Rennie Rankin’s (@yogaren) story:

My name is Rennie and I have been living with MS since the early 1990s, diagnosed on 6/2/2003. I will never forget how surreal it was hearing my diagnosis and feeling like I was outside myself, watching someone else’s life unfold. While it’s not an anniversary I celebrate, it is one I acknowledge every year, with gratitude for all I can do and all I have become, MS and all.

Since my diagnosis, I have done my share of advocacy, helping others navigate these murky waters. I have been a motivational, keynote, patient advocate speaker, helping others learn that through adversity comes strength. I was diagnosed while I was a high school teacher, and I used my experiences to help my students and school community see that life with chronic illness doesn’t mean the smile has to fade from your face. We are all stronger than we think, and we have an innate inner strength we can call upon when we need it.

I’ve also helped others understand that having MS does not preclude you from getting other conditions, so listening to our bodies is a must. I’m a breast cancer survivor, and I’ve also been diagnosed with diabetes, both of which I handle(d) the same as MS — with a smile on my face, playing the hand I was dealt like it’s the one I wanted.

After I stopped working due to my symptoms progressing, I learned to meditate, because I felt lost without my identity as a teacher. I started yoga, and soon found myself doing yoga teacher training. Now I am a certified teacher of Hatha yoga, chair yoga, and restorative yoga.

Everything about meditation and yoga has helped me manage both my physical and emotional health. My biggest piece of advice would be to always listen to your body and give it what it needs: rest, proper nutrition, and movement. Also, stop and smell the roses! Not all days are good ones, but there is good to be found in every single day. A positive attitude will always take you so much further than you ever expected.

Multiple Sclerosis News Today’s 31 Days of MS campaign will publish one story per day for Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month in March. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofMS, or read the full series.

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