On December 30th, 2012, I woke up to find that my world as I knew it had changed.
I woke not knowing how to move my body. It was no longer mine and I was no longer able to control it. It would be months before I knew what was wrong. Eventually, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
It was a long uphill climb from that day five years ago to today. I had to learn to do everything all over again, every simple little task that I had done previously without thought, I had to learn anew. The past five years have taught me a lot about myself, however.
When I learned to walk again with the aid of a cane, I learned that some mountains could be flat but that they, too, could be conquered. When I was able to finally take a shower again, able to hold myself upright and balance myself, this taught me perseverance. I constantly had to fight against my body, against the boundaries that it now tried to impose upon me.
I had to reach down deep within myself to find the courage that ran within. I had to fight against spasms, blindness, tremors, fatigue, brain fog, difficulty speaking and more. I had to learn what it was to have courage.
I’ve learned a lot in the five years that I have been battling my body. Most of all, I learned what it truly was to be thankful and grateful for what I have and what I’m able to do.
I don’t recognize myself. Five years may seem like a relatively short time, but to me it’s as if I left one life behind in 2012 and started a new one that day. I am not the same person that I was. Every day is a gift to me, something new to enjoy and to experience.
I’ve learned that I’m capable of more than I think I am. That I’m stronger than I think I am. That there are days that will be worse than others, where my symptoms are closer to the surface and show themselves more freely. That’s okay, because I’ve learned that life is all about balance, about the good and the bad and it’s all about give and take.
I lived in fear of this day for a long time until December 30th, 2015 where I changed what the day meant for me. For two years, I believed that I would wake up on this day and that everything would be back the way it was, that I would be bedridden and that the dark forest would have sprung up around me without warning.
New years wouldn’t be a celebration for me. I wondered how long it would be until what I feared most would happen, how many extra days was I going to have until I was back in the dark?
When 2015 came, I knew that something had to change. I finally did what I’ve done all along: I took control of my future. By banishing my fear of the day and changing what it meant to me, I changed something within myself. When I filed for divorce, I let go of two things that were holding me back: my fear of December 30th, 2015 and who I had been when I was married to my ex-husband.
Now the day is a celebration and a day of joy for me. It’s a day of remembrance, of the life that I lived in the past, but also a celebration of the life that I live now and what will come. Now, the day is a joy and a day of mindfulness before a new year begins.
Every day is a new day and I celebrate every one.