Day 173 – I Am No Longer Afraid

6 HUGS, 2 children, 1 pre-teen(!), 2 adults (1 husband, 1 Food Lion employee)

Fear is what keeps so many of us from being the person we truly want to be. Will I not be accepted? Will I not be loved? Will I be laughed at? Will I fail? Confronting just one fear has opened so many amazing doors for me. I was terrified to begin this hug blog. I was afraid of rejection when asking others for hugs. I was afraid of losing friends. I was afraid people would think I was weird. These things have actually happened and you know what? Life has gone on, I am still me and I am happy. That has given me so much confidence to confront fears in other areas of my life.

I have confronted far too many fears to list here, but one in particular stood out for me today. You all have been on this journey with me for 173 days, so it’s about time you know, I have multiple sclerosis. Take note of those words. I have it, it does not have me. Since being diagnosed on January 13, 2000 I burrowed myself into this comfortable little shell and avoided any moments in life that might be considered too stressful or outside of my abilities. I mean, I have my health to worry about, right? I was soooooo wrong. These years have not been wasted because I learned a lot about myself, but it’s time to realize that I am still alive and I can still accomplish amazing things.

I have always loved running. I gave it up shortly after being diagnosed because my hands and feet would tingle after a run (a symptom of MS). I was afraid of what this might do to my body. Would I end up back in the hospital? Would I do permanent damage? Although I have been symptom free for 9 years (thankyouverymuch), the fear still had a hold on my life.

I have pushed myself beyond limits I ever thought were possible for myself this year. I have come to understand that the only thing limiting myself is me. A neighborhood friend wanted to start running, so I agreed. We started off slowly. Walking most of the neighborhood with short bursts in between. Then one day I got the itch. I needed to run. I ran 5K that day. (3.6 miles) What?! I had not done that since high school. It has only been a little over a week since that day, but I have run more often than not. Today I decided to keep track of how long it took me. I ran 3.6 miles in under 38 minutes. That is less than 11 minutes per mile. Even in grade school when I was running I don’t think I ever got under a 12 minute mile. (I didn’t say I was fast, I just said I liked it.) I can’t even begin to describe the elation that I feel. It’s not just the runner’s high. It is the high of experiencing the potential of life. There is nothing stopping me now.

Please accept this blog as my virtual hug to you.

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