We Are Strong — We Have No Other Choice

Jennifer (Jenn) Powell avatar

by Jennifer (Jenn) Powell |

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neuropathy, positivity, husband, laughter, connecting, i am fine, self-care and MS, finding myself

I recently saw a greeting card that read, “You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.”

No truer words.

While I am grateful for my strength, there are moments when I would like another choice. Maybe it is a mind game. Perhaps I would default to fortitude each time, but multiple choices would be interesting.

Your choices are:

A) Strong

B) Ambivalent

C) Needy

D) Binkie and blanket

OK, maybe not “D.”

The idealist in me chooses strong. The hopeful optimist wants strong. The SPMS needs strong. The woman is strong. Why, then, the desire for an alternative?

I am drunk with fatigue. I am operating on my less-than-par nightly slumber of three hours. I am maintaining normalcy despite high levels of pain. Even in my faux inebriated state, I know that I have to stay strong to survive MS.

Giving anything less than my all will feel like defeat, and that will never be an option for me. The mountain I climb grows daily in elevation. My decision to ascend is borne by the desire not only to survive, but also to thrive. I may never reach the peak, but each day is a victory unto itself.

Each day.

Today, my victory was getting through my twice-annual infusion of Rituxan (rituximab). Tomorrow, my victory will be basic hygiene and self-care. I will also do my 20 minutes of guided meditation. I have recently found that to be a helpful tool. Our toolboxes are always open; add to yours as you learn what works for you.

We are strong. For so long, I denied myself this description. However, I did what it took to get by, and this is a strength. Inner strength, while unseen, is alive and well. There are many days I gaze upward while I climb. The peak is shrouded in clouds; all I can see is the immediate path ahead. I live life and climb one day at a time. Through tears and pain, I summon what lies within and climb. I summon faith and call out to God and I climb.

The peak is there. With faith and strength, I shall take this mountain.


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.


Pauline Phelps avatar

Pauline Phelps

Thank you Jennifer your column is just what I needed to read today.

Peggy avatar


Bravo love it

Diane Parks avatar

Diane Parks

Awesome way to describe this challenge or I should say daily challenge. I am right there with you.

Narelle de Grauw avatar

Narelle de Grauw

"NEVER GIVE UP". Don't let M.S. win?

Karen avatar


Why on earth are you sleeping only 3 hours a night? If the reasons are MS related, I understand, and hope that you take regular naps during the day. If it's not, you need to make a deliberate choice to sleep more.
No human being, with or without MS, can function on 3 hours sleep a night. We were not made that way.


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