2014 was a rough year. Personally. Not having anything to do with MS. I’m not going to go into why. That’s another story for another time. Let’s just say I took a leave of absence from life. I hadn’t been involved in any MS groups much of this year either. As I started getting my life back to normal I had a relapse. This was June 2014. It was much like previous relapses with a few new symptoms added. The difference with this one is that it was a gift. A gift because it allowed me to see I needed to get back out there. I needed to get involved and reach out to others living with MS.
I joined several groups. Started sharing my story. Listening to others. Trying to make others laugh in hard times. Hoping to inspire. Even if just a few people. I received many messages and comments thanking me for sharing my story and helping them see a positive side. It felt great to be of help.
Feeling like I needed to do more I signed up for my first Walk MS. Continued sharing my story and being active in groups. I set out in hopes of inspiring others but the truth of it is I was the one inspired. The people I came to know and share with gave me more than I could have ever given them. Their stories and support gave me a reason to keep pushing. To make myself a better person.
The First Walk
October 2014. It was a beautiful morning. Though I had talked to many MSer’s online I never met any of them in person. I was excited to finally do that. It was going to be great!
What really happened!
When we arrived there were balloons every where, banners every where, people and teams, and music playing. Booths set up to give insight as to what it’s like living with MS. These booths were well planned out and awesome. Thanks to the National MS Society AZ Chapter. They do a great job!
We went through some of them and watching Greg do the activities set up was great in that it let him see through my eyes but I began to get overwhelmed. Looking around seeing all these people like me. Hearing them talk and describe their struggles in person. Should have been wonderful right? It was but it also made it real. Made me aware of how alone I had felt.
We made our way to where the opening ceremonies were. I remember standing there while they were speaking. Telling stories and talking about all the teams feeling a hot rush go through my body. I don’t even know exactly what caused it. Why was I feeling these mixed emotions? Praying no one could tell. Then I heard my name mentioned. Why! I didn’t know why they said my name. Didn’t hear that just heard my name. Then I realized the announcer was looking for me and I said hi or something not even sure.
I wasn’t prepared nor did I want to be in the spot light. Any way I went to get my award. Still hoping no one can see what’s really going on with me. Took pics. Yay! That’s over made it through.
Walked back over where I was standing. Only to be called back two more times.
Finally it’s time to start the Walk. What a relief. As I started walking all the emotion started to lift. The feeling of excitement and support for one another came back.
In the end I was so happy I had been a part of the Walk. It was obviously something I needed to experience. Again I learned about myself and growth came from that.
The Second Walk
This Walk was shortly after my worst relapse. I had just had my Birthday and went to Vegas with my daughter. We actually just came back from Vegas the evening before the Walk. I had pushed myself in Vegas because my daughter was visiting and I hadn’t seen her in quite awhile. I wanted to be the mom she remembered. I didn’t want her to see how much of a struggle things had become. I wanted to enjoy this time with her one more time because the next I could be much worse. We walked and walked. I did my best to keep up. Hide the pain. Hide the struggle of walking. Hide my dragging foot. Pretend my tripping was just because I’m a klutz and dorky sometimes. At times it was almost too much and I know she could see something was wrong but I wasn’t about to give in. I wasn’t going to tell her. I wasn’t going to ruin our time together.
I paid for it at the Walk. This walk was met with emotion too but because it was clear I wasn’t in the same shape I was at the first walk. I was determined to make it any way. Lifting my foot was very difficult and half way through I was dragging my foot. I was slowing down and it seemed everyone was passing me. I was going to finish even if it was at turtle speed. It could be worse. It can always be worse. How could I complain or give up when so many were dealing with so much more. I don’t know for certain but I’m pretty sure I was one of the last to finish. I finished that’s what’s important.
The Third Walk
Just this past November. Physically this was the hardest so far but I was better prepared. I am more used to the new me. I’ve learned my limitations. When to push and when to take a rest. My balance was all kinds of crazy! So it was tiring in that I was trying to be constantly aware of my surroundings and where my feet were going. One of my fears when I’m out is running into someone or worse knocking them over. I brought my new friend along just in case for piece of mind. The cane 🙂
This time I had my son, Greg and his sister, my sister and bro- in- law, my cousins and my best friend to share the experience with. This made it so much easier and enjoyable.