My goal is not to end Multiple SclerosisPosted: December 5, 2011
My goal is not to end Multiple Sclerosis (MS). There are plenty of medical experts out there who are taking on that battle and I trust that one day they will succeed. My goal is simply to live in harmony with my disease.
Living with MS is a very personal journey; one that is unique to each of the 2.5 million of us affected by it. As part of my journey, every year I set goals for myself – goals that have me tackling my MS head on -goals that have me challenging the limitations others have taught me I should have.
My own journey has taught me that being fit and eating healthy are how I live in harmony with MS. For the first ten years after my diagnosis I did what I was told. I was directed to not do anything that caused stress to my body, including exercise. As the years passed I became weaker and weaker. I had no goals and a vision of the future that included me in a wheelchair. I simply existed as I waited for MS to take complete control of my body.
And then I set one simple goal that changed everything. I would swim 10 laps a day. Over time, new goals were set turning 10 to 20, 20 to 40, 40 to 80 and 80 to 100. As I achieved each goal I became healthier, had a renewed sense of energy and my MS symptoms subsided. Over the past five years I have continued to set goals each year, challenging myself and MS just a little more each time.
Which leads me to this upcoming year…
Last year I set two goals: 1) swimming a 200 meter butterfly race and 2) paddling in an Ocean Canoe (6) in the Queen Lily race in Hawaii. Somewhere along the way I added swimming across the Strait of Georgia (a 34 kilometre crossing) as part of an all women’s relay team.
In keeping with the spirit of continuous growth and not allowing my MS to limit me I will be working toward 3 new goals this year:
- improve my 200 meter butterfly time by five seconds,
- add single and/or double ocean canoeing races to my repertoire and paddle in a minimum of 3 10 kilometre small boat races and
- swim in the Bay Challenge, a 10 kilometre ocean swim.
As I prepare to work toward my goals I remind myself of 2 things. The first is to remain as healthy as I can so I can live in harmony with my MS. The second is my first fitness goal which I sent just over 5 years ago, which was to swim 10 laps a day.
Goal setting has been instrumental in helping me manage my MS. If you have a goal that you are working toward I encourage you to share it with others. Every goal counts!
- MS Wings: learning to fly with multiple sclerosis
- MS Success: Racing in the Heat in Hawaii
- MS Victory: swimming across the Strait of Georgia – Part II