My debut article for Modern Day MS was titled Trading Fear for Courage in The Fight of MS. I remember the day I wrote the article. I was reminiscing about my life prior to my diagnosis. I was crying, thinking how my life had changed and would continue to change. I was afraid of the unknown journey ahead. Most importantly, I was hopeful, praying that my faith and courage would see me through whatever difficulties I’d face in the future.
Today, I am two years into my diagnosis and the words to describe exactly what I have encountered escape me. I am in the Relapse Remitting Phase and the effects have been tremendous. Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, it is an uphill climb. The trials, triumphs, epiphanies, lessons, tears, laughs and joys have all been a part of my journey. Someone asked me would I get rid of multiple sclerosis and heart disease if I could? The question in its entirety is senseless in my opinion. My response is “it is not my choice to make.” Would I have chosen these illnesses? Of course not. They obviously were a part of my plan, a greater plan that at times I cannot comprehend. However, to deny my illnesses is to deny myself. I am the compilation of all of my experiences and I have embraced every part of me. I am “playing my hand” as best as I can.
Courage is synonymous with valor. By definition, courage is defined as strength in the face of pain or grief. It refers to a spirit of fearlessness. Please don’t misunderstand this reference. I have not mastered the act of courage. There are times that I am fearful and weak. However, I realize, that even in my weakness, I am strong. In the throes of fear, I am encouraged that my faith is stronger than the spirit of uncertainty. It is here that my courage lies. It lies in the fact that I refuse to give up. It lies in the fact that through it all, even when I cannot see the path ahead, I believe there is a reason and a purpose for my life and my path. It doesn’t come from mastering the act; it comes from fighting on and choosing to be hopeful when I sometimes feel “victimized” by multiple sclerosis.
This is a tedious journey for us. There are always highs and lows. We don’t have to have a chronic illness to realize this. Life’s “DNA” is a mixture of hills and valleys. As I have written before, and I will continue to write, fear is not my final destination. They say that practice makes perfect. Life has definitely given me plenty of practice. I am certain there will be more tests of endurance where courage will be summoned. Fear or Courage? Still I choose courage.
Which one do you choose?
Teresa Wright-Johnson is a 43-year-old MS Warrior and Congenital Heart Disease Survivor. She has had multiple open heart surgeries and cardiac procedures and was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in November of 2014. She also is a community activist with a background in Criminal Justice and Social Services. She aspires to use her life to empower and inspire others. A retired Sr. Parole Officer, a Poet and an Inspirational Speaker, she enjoys spending time with her loving family and friends, writing, reading and listening to music.
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