You’re going to make it

I’m starting to get used to a life of change. Don’t you just hate it when “normal” keeps changing on you? My normal today is drastically different than it was last year at this time. Comparing milestone markers in my life by looking at my progressions from year to year, and sometimes month to month, is the only way I can actually determine just how much my disability is changing.

For me, last year at this time my legs would still function a little when I would do the ever so popular furniture walk. (That’s where you walk from one piece of furniture to another using anything you can grab hold of as a support.) My grip strength was much better then too. Thankfully the tremor in my right hand has subsided a bit, but it’s still there and ever so annoying.

Now my voice is softer, my thinking slower, pain has increased and sleep is difficult. I have a tube coming out of my belly attached to a urine bag since I have lost control of the muscles needed to empty my bladder by myself, I no longer wear an AFO brace on my right ankle since the drop foot has shifted to being stiff rather than floppy, and my breathing is shallower but still going strong. I’d say that’s a lot of change.

But looking back over my life, change has always been happening…even before multiple sclerosis came into the picture. Seasons change in our lives and what we considered normal changes right along with it.

No matter how much change has been happening, I have made it this far in life because I hung on even when I wanted to give up. Look back at all you’ve been through then give yourself a giant pat on the back, high five or hug for sticking it out too. You have pushed through some truly difficult and impossible times.

I always think of Florence Chadwick when I feel like quitting. In 1952, she attempted the impossible. She stepped into the waters of the Pacific Ocean off Catalina Island determined to swim to the shore of mainland California. She was already the first woman to swim the English Channel both ways, so surely she could do this.

The weather was foggy and chilly making it hard to see the boats that were accompanying her. Fifteen hours she swam, stroke by stroke, exhausted and only able to see a few feet in front of her. She begged to be taken out of the water.

Her mother, in a boat alongside, told her she was close and that she could make it, but being both physically and emotionally exhausted, she stopped swimming and was pulled out. It wasn’t until she was on the boat that she discovered the shore was less than half a mile away.

At a news conference the next day she said, “All I could see was the fog…I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”

Can you relate? Sometimes I feel like giving up because I don’t have the strength to move forward, not even an inch. I can’t see where I’m headed and I am exhausted, weary and just completely worn out.

I didn’t ask to be a part of this fight, this struggle in life. But you know what? Each day I still come up swinging. Sometimes I get knocked out even before stepping out of bed, but I keep fighting anyway. You have to do the same thing. That’s what warriors do. And believe me, you are a warrior.

If today is a difficult day for you, remind yourself of how far you’ve already come. Stop looking at how far you still have to go or the fact that you can’t see the finish line. The important thing is that you are moving forward…even if it is only at a snails pace.

You are conquering today one moment, one step, one stroke at a time. And that my friend, is amazing!

11 replies
  1. Peggy
    Peggy says:

    As others say here Thank you Penelope Conway your writings have helped me so much. Glad to have found Postive living blog. I can relate to the progressive disabilities…as you say i too did the furniture walking and now into a wheelchair.

  2. Rodger Ashton-Smith
    Rodger Ashton-Smith says:

    Thanks again Penelope you make my life easier every time. My wheelchair is my only mobility and wee are looking at a new home for better living conditions for both of us. I will keep you posted as how it goes.

  3. Tiffany
    Tiffany says:

    AWESOME once again Penelope, I love reading ALL off your post, and they have helped me to let my family know a little about ME. By the way I have never talked about me until I was able to have my daughter-in-law read a few of your post to my children and husband one time when I was out of town, and WOW it sure let them understand a little more about my life 🙂 A BIG huge to you Penelope and THANK YOU xoxox

  4. Trish
    Trish says:

    Oh, Penelope! What an extraordinary lady you are! Brave. Beautiful. Benificient. Your courage, compassion and grace inspire us all. Your gentle yet ferocious spirit illuminates ours with hope and humility. May you feel our love embracing you throughout each and every moment. MS is a harsh mistress. I have been waltzing with Angela and tangoing with her demons for over twenty years. Your generosity of spirit is truly rare. Thank you. God Bless.

    • Trish
      Trish says:

      Excuse me. I am legally blind and typing is also difficult with hand to eye coordination deficits. I meant “waltzing with Angels and tanging with MS…”. My apologies s

  5. Pat/Don Dobbs
    Pat/Don Dobbs says:

    Receiving POSITIVE LIVING with MS has helped my husband and I to understand what it is like having MS. These news letters are extremely helpful to understand what one is going through.


    Thank you for sharing this post with us all. Your posts are always worth reading as they say so much about life with MS as does this post thank you for all that you do to help people living with MS.


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