Recently through my rescue/outreach work I have had the awful task of being photographed often. Candid shots don't bother me too much. I will post what some consider 'embarassing' photos of myself willingly. It's when I need to 'doll up' and 'model' when I become uncomfortable. I noticed one thing though, through every photo, I am wearing a goofy rubber red wristband. Even in my calendar shot, with my frilly party dress, there is a rather unsightly red rubber band on my wrist. It is my Multiple Sclerosis awareness band. We often say as MS patients that we are 'more' than MS, or that MS isn't all that we are. I agree, but that's not the entire truth.
If you are someone who has been directly affected by Multiple Sclerosis, you can agree that for good or bad, for better or worse, in spite of or because of, MS has molded you into what you are today. For me, it has made me stronger, more accepting, more thankful, and more aware. In many ways I am what I am today in spite of MS. But in some ways I am what I am because of it. No matter which reason or path I went down to become the person I am now, all that matters is that I am incredible. I don't mean that in a self centered way or selfish way, it is just the truth.
But it isn't just myself....any one of you with a potentially terminal illness, you are incredible. The shit we go through often times are things that the average person of moderate or good health could never grasp or understand, especially at a young age as some of us have had to deal with it. At any age when we go through this, it turns your entire life upside down. You can re-plan your future or you can give up. Despite some of you who are probably sitting there depressed, thinking there is nothing positive to come from this experience or this disease, you are still here. So, even if you don't realize it yet, you haven't given up, and since you're still dealing, something tells me you won't.
I'm well aware you have those days where you can't remember what it's like to live life careless and pain free. But you still get to live. So use that and throw it back at this disease and live the best life you can. With 2010 coming to a close, I can look back on the year, and despite a minor roadblock for awhile, I can say that this year has been the best year in my 'adult' life thus far. I made the choice a few years ago to finally live, and I feel like this year I really displayed that. I went from the lowest point imaginable to something far more meaningful and worth-while. You just have to find a way and make a choice. So, even with all the bullshit 2010 brought with it, it has been a grandiose year for me for sure!
I have been given rampant opportunities to live the life I have always wanted to live. To overcome some of my fears or anxieties. To make a difference and show people that I am a fantastic person. I accepted all of the challenges and great things and I made all of them into a wonderful year and one of the best experiences I have had in 'adulthood'. So, if it's any indication to the rest of my 'adult life', I'm just getting started.
So thank you to those of you who have helped make that possible. 2010 will be a year to mark down and remember for years to come, and hopefully years after will only be just as good or better.