Today marks World MS Day, a day that I never thought would have so much weight in my own personal life. If you have read this site for a while you know that I was diagnosed with the disease over two years ago. In some ways it has changed my life for the better and others for the worst. Did you know that this disease effects over 2.3 million people world wide between the ages of 25 to 31? Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed than men. So what exactly is MS? It is an autoimmune disease marked by 'flare-ups' that cause anything from numbing, temporary paralysis to permanent disability.
My own journey has been less severe than most, I am very fortunate. In fact, I used to work in an office building that had a MS treatment facility. It tore me up inside to ride the elevator with people my age in wheelchairs or walking with canes, little did the know that I had the very same thing, just a different severity. That is the thing with MS sometimes it is an invisible disability - and believe me to even say that I have a disability was a hard one to swallow. Especially since I have led a very active life prior that involved running for miles and miles. There are times I am screaming inside because I need to sit down or my fatigue is so overwhelming I feel like my heart is giving out. Regardless, despite the fact that I don't talk about it that much and while I am not running away from it or ashamed (anymore), I have learned many important lessons. I thought I would share a few with you today. Maybe you don't have MS, but these are three guide posts that anyone can take into consideration. Life is a miracle, something that we all should celebrate. I hope that one day they will discover a cure for MS but until then here is how you can help. xx
Never Take Anything for Granted
Generally speaking I have usually been a grateful person, but it wasn't until I couldn't do what I used to do that I realized, wow, I took those things for granted. Stopping running was one of the hardest things I had to do. I had been an avid runner for years logging anywhere from seven to twelve miles in a workout. While I probably had this for longer than I know (they think it laid dormant for years) I never realized just how lucky I was to run - stretch my legs, feel the sun on my face and the breeze through my hair. The things I used to do like be on the go constantly (see the last point), walk everywhere and anywhere are not as easy for me anymore. I am very lucky to be able to walk and enjoy things that honestly should never be taken for granted.
Take A Chance On Your Dreams
I actually started ROSE & IVY after I was diagnosed with MS. It was just too many years of soul-sucking jobs, terrible people, lay-offs that I knew there was more to life. I just knew it. Life is too short, that phrase 'the days are long but the years are short' is very true. If there is in fact one day that I can't walk or cannot move as much as I used to, at least I know that I took a stab at my dreams over and over again. Another quote I use all of the time is by Jim Carey “If you can fail at what you don't want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”
Slow It Down
We live in a 'busy, busy, busy always on' culture. And honestly it is exhausting. We are overstimulated, over exposed to technology and these things were supposed to make life easier! The busier we are the more productive we are perceived. But I have to say that this 'slow movement' is something to talk about, but I will be honest for some reason deeply embedded inside of me, I have this constant desire to move. I get antsy and have so many things that I want to accomplish. While I am definitely ambitious, it is also very important to rest and recharge. To sit back with a book, a cup of tea or to cuddle with our dog - it is moments like these that offer restorative stillness.
*Photography by Alison