Well, I made it through 2017, and boy, was it a doozy. A good portion of this year was spent unemployed (for both my husband, due to corporate buy-outs, and me, due to workplace discrimination). Between losing our jobs and, therefore, also our health insurance coverage, 2017 left us nearly financially devastated.
Tack on a broken leg, surgery, the passing of a close friend, emergency trips to the vet, the stress of moving while recovering from surgery, a significant new health diagnosis, an MS flare, the discovery of numerous new active lesions in my brain, having to start (another) new MS medication, and multiple friends with serious health diagnoses…we just didn’t know what hit us or how we could recover the losses we sustained.
Most of 2017 was spent feeling blindsided, beat up, and hopeless…but thankful that we were still able to get by. This year tested our resolve, our patience, and our marriage.
And now, as we embark on a new year, we still are treading water a little bit, but we are hopeful. Within the last few months, we both found work at two amazing companies. And we love our jobs—ones where we are both already being recognized and making an impact. My post-op recovery is going smoothly and I’ve recently started Tysabri with high hopes.
So here we are, standing just beyond the threshold of 2018, not knowing what will come next.
But we are no longer afraid. We no longer feel weighed down.
We are happy.
Ending 2017 on a high note made me think of a mantra that I’ve repeated to myself since I was a little girl, when dealing with devastatingly crushing events like playground bullies, teenage heartbreak, the flu, or an especially unfortunately placed pimple:
It can’t be this way forever.
It was true then and it is true now. Those words that got me through the sorrow and tortures of dramatic adolescence also kept me going during the most difficult year of my life, to date.
Rather than focus on specific resolutions this year, I’m choosing to focus on a theme: Happiness, and the pursuit of it.
Not to sound over-dramatic here, but I had almost forgotten what it felt like. And now that the feelings of freedom and love and joy are starting to creep back, I want more.
To learn more about how I, and we as MSers, can plan for the year ahead while being driven by a disease that can change with the hour, you can read my most recent article for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society here.
Also, on a completely unrelated, but timely side note: I wanted to express how happy it made me to receive so much positive feedback on my holiday gift guide. As you can see in the photos below, I personally received not one, but TWO giant body pillows for Christmas this year—proof positive my family reads my blog! How many other of my gift suggestions can you spot in these photos? 🤔
Last (and certainly not least), I would like to publicly thank a few all-stars from 2017:
My husband, for keeping his chin up and arms open while having his limits continuously tested, and for standing by my side while my own breaking points were also strained.
My sister-in-law, for squeezing me into surgery faster than I ever thought possible (and thank you to my brother for getting me there so quickly!), and for making sure I was treated like royalty during my hospital stay.
My dear, sweet friend Beth, for being so present throughout my injury, surgery, and recovery, for visiting me and for calling and staying on the phone for sometimes up to two hours at a time–just about every day for months.
To our friends and family who helped us move—you were all lifesavers, particularly because I was so useless. Thank you all so much for your hard work and for getting us into our new home. Big shouts to Wendy for scrubbing our former residence top to bottom, giving us a whole new level of superhuman cleanliness to live up to.
To Lynne, one of the kindest souls I’ve ever met, for an opportunity that has brought me so much joy.
For all those who offered their love, support, cards, and flowers during especially trying times, thank you. You brought sunshine when I needed it most.
Thank you to everyone who donated to Team Bruised Apple this year for Walk MS! You helped me raise more funds for MS research and treatments than in previous years! I hope you all truly know how large of an impact is made by your contributions.
Thank you to Garrett of Balance Fitness, for offering such a gift to those living with MS. And to my MS workout buddies, thank you for welcoming me into our club of misfits with open arms and undying motivation and inspiration! Don’t worry–I’ll be back when my work schedule allows!
Thank you to the #MSBlogSquad, an amazing group of bloggers that I had an opportunity to meet and network with on an IQuity-sponsored trip to Nashville, TN. It was such an honor to learn from all of you and to now call you my friends.
#MSBlogSquad: Caroline Craven (www.GirlWithMS.com), Kathy Reagan Young (www.FUMSnow.com), Kim Standard (www.StuffCouldAlwaysBeWorse.blogspot.com), Dave Bexfield (www.ActiveMSers.org), Beth Prystowsky (www.ModernDayMS.com), Stephanie Buxhoeveden (www.JustKeepSmyelin.com), Matt Cavallo (www.MattCavallo.com), Dan and Jennifer Digmann (www.DanandJenniferDigmann.com), Laura Kolaczkowski (www.InsideMyStory.com)
And to you, my readers, thank you for allowing me to talk, vent, teach, make dumb jokes, and share my experiences with you.
Have a happy and healthy 2018, everyone. No matter what it may bring, stay #applestrong! 🍏