Strength and perseverance

Several people have told me that they see me as being really strong. My youngest says I remind him of the Princess Carolyn character on “BoJack Horseman”: strong, ambitious, and stubborn. (Those were his exact words and I definitely can’t deny the stubborn attribute!)

It’s interesting, though, that strength and toughness are not the way I would usually describe myself, yet it’s apparently so evident to others that they do describe me that way.

The only thing I can think of that could explain why I’m so often given that description is that I’ve faced some pretty big hardships but don’t often feel sorry for myself. That’s not to say I’ve never given into that, but in general I try hard not to be that person. Even my mom said that I was handling my multiple sclerosis with positivity and figured that was part of why I was doing so well.

On that note, I started my newest medication for my multiple sclerosis today and it requires me to give myself injections. I always feared the injectable medications because I didn’t think I could handle injecting myself.

Having done it for the first time now, I have to say that it was truly no big deal. The degree to which I had psyched myself out over it was in no way proportionate to what the experience was actually like.

But I feel like I can’t claim that as any kind of evidence of my strength or toughness because there are millions of people around the world who have to give themselves injections of one type of medicine or another.

Yet I can also say that I believe strongly in the mind-body connection and have used it to get through things in the past. For example, I once had a large cyst on my ovary that had been there for almost six months and my doctor said it was unlikely to go away on its own and wanted to do surgery.

I wanted to avoid surgery so I did visualizations that the cyst would go away. When I went in for the pre-op visit two weeks later, I asked the doctor to humor me and perform an ultrasound to make sure it was still there. Sure enough, he found that it was nearly completely gone. I didn’t need surgery after all.

As a testament to the stubbornness my youngest son mentioned, I fought hard to have a vaginal birth of my second child after a previous C-section. The baby weighed over 10 pounds and I’m only 5’1″ yet I gave birth to him without an epidural for pain relief.

So maybe I am tough after all. My husband asked me the other day about what I would do if he died tomorrow and I said I had faith that I would make it. He seemed to find that naive. My faith that I would make it isn’t found in God or my bank account but in myself and my resilience.

If people see me as tough and strong, I take that as a compliment. I sometimes feel like I’m too dependent on my husband and I know he didn’t always like that, especially when the kids were little and he wanted me to work full-time.

But I know that despite whatever dependent tendencies I may have, I also have the mindset of a survivor. If you give me a challenge that’s important to me, I’ll beat it.

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