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A person with hiking sticks staring up at a row of mountains with a heart sewn on the sleeve of their shoulder.

Going On

“I feel like going on.” This is the title of and lyrics to one of my favorite spiritual songs, and I sing it often. The words soothe my soul. They encourage me on the days I really want to quit, and they empower me on those days when I am ready to conquer the world. I exist in both realms. In 2014 when my MS diagnosis was received, I couldn’t fathom the depth of this journey. I couldn’t envision what pain and fatigue would do to my physical body and mental health. Multiple Sclerosis has brought me to the precipice of overwhelming sadness. It has also taught me to savor the beautiful, fleeting moments of joy in my life. With that being said, what I know for sure is that I am a fighter, destined to survive and thrive.

Acknowledging all of my experiences

To deny my valley experiences is to refute an important part of who I am today and all I have persevered through. There is power in acknowledging and sharing all of my story. It takes courage to recognize fear and honesty to confront it. Self-awareness requires deep introspection. I waver from crying a river of tears, to wailing “why me?” to resolving that this too shall pass. These emotions are processed and eventually, I regain my composure. I make a conscious effort to go on.

Grateful for my support system

Gratitude has become an important ritual in my life. I give thanks for the blessings I receive even in the paroxysm of illness and adversity. I realize that a bad day is not equivalent to a bad life. I am grateful for a loving husband, family, friends, and a strong support system. Advocacy has sharpened my vision. I’ve met extraordinary people who understand the life of chronic illness. I have the opportunity to serve on advisory boards and share the importance of the unique patient experience. I have the opportunity to encourage and advocate for diversity in healthcare and quality of life decisions. Finally, I have the privilege of serving mankind and leaving the world better and brighter than I found it.

I am more than MS

Giving up is not in my DNA. I feel like going on because I want to live, give and prosper. I feel like going on because through it all, I am more than Multiple Sclerosis. I am a beautifully flawed, raw, purposed and open heart. I am the woman who proudly bares her scars and wears her heart on her sleeve.

Each day, I collect the pieces of my life. The joy, pain, loss, gain and all of life’s lessons are in my arsenal. They are both my armor and ammunition to continue on this journey. At the end of my existence, the remnants of my life will create the beautiful mosaic of my essence. It will tell the story of a warrior who endured.

A word of encouragement

Please allow me to encourage you. You are here for a reason. Your existence is divinely on purpose and you are more than your diagnosis or circumstance. Be as gentle to yourself as you are with others. Going on is a leap of faith, a necessary evil and/or an act of rebellion. Whichever description you choose, please keep going. I will too.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • OliviaJ
    6 days ago

    Great song!

  • michael honeycutt
    6 days ago

    I was once, long ago in another life, privileged to spend three years working alongside US Navy SEALs. I wasn’t one myself but I had lots of friends, officers and enlisted people around me that were. I learned 3 things from them that really help me now, 40 years later fighting RRMS.
    1.) You are ALWAYS stronger than you think or feel like you are. Keep going!
    2.) Things are NEVER as bad as they look or seem to be! Bear in mind that they might actually be worse but that’s rare, so don’t freak out! Keep going!
    3.) We will ALL live right up to the very instant we die, then it’s over. You’re off to other things at that point and your trials in this life are over. Life is for living so LIVE, DAMMIT! While you are sucking atmosphere you have a mission: LIVE! Mission first!

    I never thought that these fine ideas would have a use beyond the battlefield but I was profoundly wrong. They’ve carried me through things the military never dished out, especially chronic autoimmune illnesses. (I fight 3) Combined with my spiritual faith, which I find to be of vital importance, I get through the day. Gratitude is imperative as well. I don’t mind a little lovin’ from my darling bride and my two pooches either, lol! Ya gotta take your victories where you can find them! They’re there, ya just have to look! Blessings! Great piece!

  • slaughteringMS
    5 days ago

    THANK YOU for writing this and providing your perspective of lessons from the battlefield that can apply to our life with MS. My husband is a naval officer, so I am blessed to not only have his support but also his example in the way he approaches life as a mission. MISSION FIRST. Whatever the Navy needs and wherever it sends us, he does and we go. My own mantra is “move until I can’t move anymore.” These arms, these legs, this body is meant for continuous motion while able, and *maybe* this will delay or prevent slipping into inescapable inertia. I was telling my husband just this morning as we waited forever at the gate (another turnaround for someone trying to get through with a driver’s license!!), my goal is to one day be on my deathbed and be able to proclaim that I held off the worst of MS and I’ll die from something else. Take care, Michael and everyone else with MS! Keep your ass in gear! 🙂

  • Dave Bexfield — ActiveMSers
    1 week ago

    “It has also taught me to savor the beautiful, fleeting moments of joy in my life.” That’s how I feel every time I get to spend a moment in your presence, Teresa. Too fleeting, but dang you bring the joy! I look forward to reading your writings….

  • Janus Galante moderator
    2 weeks ago

    Beautiful Teresa! This is one I had not heard before, so listened to it on Youtube.
    I can “hear” why it’s so special to you! Janus

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