Why My Body Is Not My Adversary

Why My Body Is Not My Adversary

Why is my body betraying me? As an advocate and a person with chronic illness, this question surfaces often. Many people with chronic illness feel that their body has failed them. I can understand the reasoning behind the question.

At times, the very things many take for granted are the allowances that have been taken away from those with illness. As a person who lives with chronic pain, congenital heart disease, and multiple sclerosis, I have cogitated much on this question. The intent of this week’s column is to explain why I believe that my body is not my adversary.

I was born with disease. It has always been my reality. Growing up with congenital heart disease affected every aspect of my life. Trying to be “normal” in a world that constantly reminds you of your limitations was difficult. I fought for every bit of my confidence.

I have always felt different. Today I have the maturity, poise, and understanding to value the attributes that define me. When I hear others express the pain and trauma of body betrayal, I understand. But I occupy a different stance.

I cannot say I ever felt betrayed by my body. My body is my copilot. We have flown around the planet together. It has fought to sustain life, maintain function, and assist in the pursuit of happiness. My body was charged with trying its best to protect my heart, to keep it beating against all odds. It is the covering that keeps my heart safe from foreign and domestic threats. It has had to endure surgeries, procedures, side effects of medications, emotional trauma, heartache, and grief. It has had to withstand adversity so that I could survive.

My body is an extension of me. We are partners, fighting battles together that only we comprehend. My body is not my adversary. It is my faithful friend.

If I feel any betrayal, it is that life betrayed me. It did not unfold in the way I envisioned. Never in my imagination did I think that when I grew up I would have multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, injuries, grief, loss, and trauma. But that is what life delivered.

I also did not imagine that I would be alive now to grow, love, and thrive, telling my story and sharing my heart while living on my terms. I never imagined the distinguished accomplishments and heights I have reached. Life has delivered indescribable joy. My life is beautiful. It did not betray me. I have joy that comes from knowing I still have breath in my body and a space under the sun.

Multiple sclerosis challenges me physically, mentally, and emotionally. There are days when I become undone and inconsolable. Yet through every pain and with every tear, my body is doing what is was designed to do. It is attempting to withstand all that is coming for it. It is trying to wade through the stormy waters of illness.

I don’t know how the story ends. No one does. But I know that my body fought the good fight. It did what it could, and I am grateful.

My friends, you are entitled to acknowledge your truth. No one can change that. Chronic illness compromises much, and can call into question all that we believed to be true. Walk in your truth.

I have discovered that my perception quickly can become my reality. I cannot go to war with my body. Illness has called the two of us to fight. We made a pact long ago to stay together until the end.

Take care of you, and keep believing that better days are ahead.

You are invited to follow 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.

Teresa I. Wright-Johnson is a married Multiple Sclerosis Warrior and Congenital Heart Disease Survivor. She was born with a heart murmur and an Aortic Valve Defect. Teresa has endured multiple open heart surgeries and cardiac procedures. She was diagnosed with MS in November of 2014 and is under the care of an esteemed MS Specialist. Teresa knows there is a calling on her life and she fully embraces that. Teresa uses her illnesses as opportunities to further rely on her faith, walk in her truth, raise awareness and educate others. She believes that she is purposely on purpose. Teresa offers a solid background in Criminal Justice and Social Services. A graduate of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and a retired Sr. Parole Officer for the State of New Jersey, Teresa uses her life to empower and inspire others. She embodies community service, is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc and is active with several other organizations. Teresa aspires to be a light that shines in dark places. Teresa is an author, poet, inspirational speaker and a community activist. She enjoys writing, reading, listening to music and spending time with her family and friends. Teresa acknowledges the unwavering love of her wonderful parents throughout her life and her supportive and loving husband Marvin who is beside her through every trial and triumph.
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Teresa I. Wright-Johnson is a married Multiple Sclerosis Warrior and Congenital Heart Disease Survivor. She was born with a heart murmur and an Aortic Valve Defect. Teresa has endured multiple open heart surgeries and cardiac procedures. She was diagnosed with MS in November of 2014 and is under the care of an esteemed MS Specialist. Teresa knows there is a calling on her life and she fully embraces that. Teresa uses her illnesses as opportunities to further rely on her faith, walk in her truth, raise awareness and educate others. She believes that she is purposely on purpose. Teresa offers a solid background in Criminal Justice and Social Services. A graduate of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ and a retired Sr. Parole Officer for the State of New Jersey, Teresa uses her life to empower and inspire others. She embodies community service, is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc and is active with several other organizations. Teresa aspires to be a light that shines in dark places. Teresa is an author, poet, inspirational speaker and a community activist. She enjoys writing, reading, listening to music and spending time with her family and friends. Teresa acknowledges the unwavering love of her wonderful parents throughout her life and her supportive and loving husband Marvin who is beside her through every trial and triumph.
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2 comments

  1. Christopher says:

    Dear Teresa,

    Thank you for sharing your story and perspective. I appreciate the vulnerability and courage that it takes to write about our experiences.

    I have suffered from MS for over 26 years. Misdiagnosed and untreated for 24 of those years, I have gone deep down the rabbit hole of health in the pursuit of healing. I have waxed and waned in feeling towards my body. While we are partners on this journey, it is inescapable that aspects of our bodies are at war with itself. Degrading our ability to perceive and experience the world of life maximally.

    I used to say I can’t be a fan of a body that is not a fan of me. I saw MS as a disease that reduces my potential energy and brain-mind relationship. Something was broken to cause this damaging relationship with elements of my biology. I couldn’t separate the personal nature of the disease, and an insistence that my standing be under its influence.

    There came a moment when I saw that standing under the disease also placed my body at a disadvantage. After all, we are afflicted with a state of being not of choice, or blind acquiesces; instead, some unknown disharmonies of nature. I grew tired of living in the disease and decided to flip the relationship. MS lives in me. I do not live in it; I chose to have an over-standing of my condition. Therefore MS is a message, and I need to establish a relationship with my body that places both mind and matter at the center of value. To listen to the words of MS and consider its standing along-side other places in my physical life and address a plan that maximizes the potential energy of the day.

    So, I made a contract with my body, writing out the details of our relationship. The food we would choose, the exercises we would do, the meditations we would conduct, replacing the anger for my body with forgiveness and gratitude. To see us both in the fight together, warriors side by side, supporting one another in over standing and power. We, mind, and body are the value. We reject the scarcity mindset, replacing it with gratitude, abundance, and over-standing. I believe we have the power to heal. My mission is to do just that, heal every day through the power of the mind.

    This transformation has uplifted my psyche and changed the fundamentals of the challenge that is MS. Question limiting beliefs, replace them with new unlimited views that serve the larger frame. Replace the Viewmaster of your life with an original image for health and well-being. Focus on thriving, not just surviving with MS. Never stop imagining your healing in light and love. After-all we are nature; we are consumers, we are creators.

    Thank you for allowing me to comment on your story. Your article inspired me to share my perspective.

  2. Cheryl says:

    This article and follow up comments are inspirational! I have been struggling and struggling to find the satisfaction and acceptance you have. This is the biggest battle of my life! I battled stage four ovarian cancer and survived having walked “through the valley”

    I know there is a purpose for my life. I just don’t seem to have the fight in me anymore. So I will hold on to your transformative words and keep working toward not only acceptance, but thriving.

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