About six months before the relapse that led to my diagnosis, I was out running and I suddenly became so aware of how lucky I was. The beauty in every single step, the ease of breath. It hit me how quickly it could all be snatched away.
I realise now how eerie that premonition - of sorts- feels but that reminder to stay mindful stuck with me on every single run and walk after that. However, it wasn’t until I heard those three words on a sunny afternoon in mid-May that it really hit me how quickly my ever-expanding bucket list could be destroyed.
So, only a few hours after receiving my MS diagnosis, I went home, laced up my runners and signed up for the half marathon I’d always talked myself out of…. Oh, and I ordered a pizza and ate A LOT of chocolate!
I cherished the time spent training for that half marathon - it gave me the headspace I needed to come to terms with what MS might mean.
“MS will not stop me doing the things I love,” was my daily mantra as I fought back against the disease, pounding the pavements as I went.
But then it did exactly that.
Nine months after completing that beautiful half marathon, I found myself in need of a wheelchair, a stick and at the start of what has since become a life of chronic pain.
And yet, as I watched one bucket list wash away, another one formed and started to overflow with ideas. Even in the days I needed a wheelchair to leave the house and never saw myself without it, never mind managing a lap of the park without it, my bucket list was no less extensive.
From deciding that the marathon I never got to do would be replaced by a skydive in 2018 (shhh don’t tell my mother!) and accepting the help of a wheelchair to enable me to continue seeing the world - with Alaska and it’s whales and wildlife coming up trumps - to deciding I would one day walk around my favourite park again (and I did!), getting a dog, getting married and choosing to enjoy and to really cherish the beauty of the everyday despite MS and chronic pain.
In 2015, my bucket list involved a half marathon. In 2016 it involved just wanting to sit in the park and in 2017 it involved managing a single lap of that park. Because that’s the thing with MS, the bucket list regularly gets reset and that’s okay.
You see, each and everyone of us is far more resilient and amazing than we realise. So while MS may seem like a thousand bullet holes through the middle of your bucket list, it’s also the fuel for a far more powerful and beautiful one to come. So, believe in yourself, take a deep breath and get busy planning.
Rosie has a personal blog where she writes about her life, running and keeping the bucket list overflowing! Check out https://sherunswithms.wordpress.com/