I used to be fearless. I had the world by the tail. I knew what I wanted and went after it. I was successful and felt good about my life.
Enter MS. Enter fear. Leading up to the diagnosis, I experienced several symptoms that were explained away by other conditions for three decades. Balance, ringing in my ears, falling for no apparent reason, inflammation, weakness in right hand and leg, foot drop, bladder and bowel issues, and some cognitive issues like trouble finding the right word.
I was determined to not succumb to the disease so I started finding ways to overcome these weaknesses. I started taking notes for meetings and writing my grocery and to-do lists on my tablet and smart phone since writing is difficult and fatiguing, began eating with my left hand, walking slower and concentrating more on each step, stop trying to multitask, such as walking and doing anything else (even thinking of anything else besides walking), and using a cane for new or unfamiliar settings. I began several medications to assist with muscle spasms and cramping, fatigue, neuropathy pain, bladder and bowel issues, and a medication to increase muscle transmission of nerve signals. I also take several supplements, use aromatherapy, and drink apple cider vinegar every day. I also watch what I eat. Although there isn’t an MS diet, I try to avoid white foods (sugar, flour, white potatoes). I am still learning how to use the strengths I still have and adjusting for my weaknesses.
Fear can be defined as an emotion caused by the belief that something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. MS has shaken up my life and has caused me to believe that it, and the accompanying symptoms, is a threat to my well-being. The fear is what I struggle with the most. I am mostly afraid of falling and the accompanying injuries.
There are many MS wellness programs that discuss grief and how we deal with it. Grief is a funny thing. According to Wikipedia, “grief is a multifaceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something that has died, to which a bond or affection was formed. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, and philosophical dimensions.” The Kübler-Ross model lists five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
So if it is a response to something that has died, I can relate my MS experience to that definition. I have definitely experienced things that have died—my health, independence, fearlessness, mobility, and confidence.
God continues to lead me, and I continue to learn more of His character and become more attuned to His voice. It is only then when I can truly live a life abundant. “And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.” John 10:4 I want to increase my knowledge of Him, His character, His great and awesome grace and mercy, and His amazing love and faithfulness.
In the spring of 2015, I started giving thanks to God that there are so many things I can still do beyond the disabling issues with which I deal. For about a year and a half I would watch others and think that I used to be able to do that! It was not an easy transition, but once I made it, I felt very free. How did I come to that breakthrough? Lots of prayer and diving into God’s Word. He says in Psalm 91:1–2, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.’”
God is love! And He loves us enough to send His Son God to die on our behalf. He is always a gentleman; He does not force Himself upon us. We have free will so that we will come to Him under no duress. The book of James can be a tough epistle to read. He says what he means and means what he says. In his fourth chapter, he speaks against pride, worldliness, and judgmental attitudes. But he also says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8 God’s love is kind, is not rude, rejoices in the truth, and bears with us because “God has loved you with an everlasting love; He has drawn you with loving-kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3
It is my prayer that each of you who hear my story may also have the courage and boldness to fight back to fearlessness. You can read more about my journey in my recently released book, Fearless. I have prayed for everyone who reads my book to be as blessed as I was to write it! I ask that you pray for me as well as we journey on this thing called life. “Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me.” Romans 15:3
I am fearless because I am “strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”
I have the world by the tail because “He that is in me is stronger
than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
I know what I want and go after it because I “seek first His kingdom” Mathew 6:33
and I “know the voice of my Shepherd.” John 10:16
I am successful and feel good about my life because “the battle is the Lord’s” 1 Samuel 17:47 and I am “more than a conqueror through Him who loves me.” Romans 8:37