Multiple sclerosis is an energy drain, bringing crippling fatigue (often unpredictably) and heat intolerance. It also steals vision, tackles balance, renders limbs limp and leaves various body parts numb or painfully tingly. Ask anyone living with MS, and you’ll hear some of the same complaints and stories of spending time on the sidelines.
But don’t count us out just yet.
Those who shoulder MS or any other chronic illness that threatens disability understand the quandary of possessing unknown and ever-changing daily allotments of energy and wherewithal. On any given day, the MSer (or other chronic illness battler) has no idea what the current balance is in his or her energy bank.
That assumption leaves each of us with a couple of choices.
We can hunker down and conserve every last bit of vim and vigor, so as not to run out. Or we can go for broke and expend all we can, right up to the point at which we are fully depleted, even if we have to pay dearly for it afterwards.
I frequently exercise the second option. Often, this pays off.
For example, I am training to run my first full marathon. (That’s 26.2 miles, if you’re counting.) I’ve completed several half marathons. (That’s 13.1, if you do the math.)
By the time I toe the marathon start line, I will have been a diagnosed MSer for 10 ½ years.
That’s no boast. I am grateful for every step of mobility that I still enjoy. I know life could absolutely have turned out very differently for me, as it has for so many others living with MS.
I am fairly certain that this marathon endeavor is likely to set me back a bit, by the time it’s over. Knowing this, I have cleared my calendar as much as possible for several days afterwards. I am sure I will be spent. But I’ve gotta do it anyway.
As the Eagles sang in their 1975 hit single, “Put me on a highway, and show me a sign. And take it to the limit one more time.”
“One and done” will be my marathon motto.
I’ll likely never sign up for a second one. But this is one dragon I want to slay, even if I have to pay for it.
Adapted from public domain photo