This morning, I gave in to fear. I got out of bed, and felt like the gyroscope in my head was seriously out of alignment – I was dizzy, and the vertigo I’d felt a year ago seemed to have come back. We were planning a day trip to Boston to watch the Marathon (my daughter Robin runs the last mile with her friend Julie, and this year invited her friend Anna to run with her), and I took Alison aside and told her I was a little concerned about my ability to get around, feeling so unsteady. She convinced me that we could work around it, and it would all be fine.
We went out to breakfast, and when we got back, just getting from the car to the house I felt really shaky and ill, and I told Alison I didn’t think I would join them. All I wanted to do was lie down and sleep, and I thought it was important to listen to my body.
I slept for two hours, then dozed off and on, got up for a little nosh, and lay back down with a book, again dozing off and on. I definitely felt better, though there was still a little vertigo. I sat in a lawn chair out in the sun, and it came to me that I’d given in to fear – fear that I would fall down, fear that I would hold others back for having to accommodate my disability, fear, I guess, of acting like a person with MS. Fear that is, by the way, completely in my own head.
John Wayne said something to the effect that courage was being scared to death, but saddling up anyway. Just as I resolved to take better care of myself, and to do whatever I can to regain the mobility and endurance I have temporarily lost, so too I now resolve not to let fear in again. I am a person with MS, which brings certain disabilities. I will not apologize for them. Others can choose to walk a little slower to be with me, or they can choose not to. But I will not remove myself from life out of the fear of inconveniencing them. I’ll do what I want – you can come along or not.