Just keep moving. Those three words mean many things to many people. For me, it means to keep going, don’t give up. Don’t give up in anything you do, whether it is physically or emotionally, personally or professionally.
In 2003, I was diagnosed with Anykylosing Spondylitis, which is an inflammatory autoimmune condition, a form of arthritis that attacks your spinal joints causing back pain and stiffness. But wait, that’s not all (as if that isn’t bad enough at the age of 36). From 2004 to 2009, I was also diagnosed with Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Meniere’s Disease…and let’s not forget Asthma caused by all of these immune diseases. Seriously?? Why me?? Why me is a thought that runs through the mind of many people whether it’s due to an illness, job loss and more.
I tried every medication and listened to them tell me my life wouldn’t be the same. I was young, active and had a teenage daughter. I was 36, why can I barely move? Struggling for several years with medication side-effects, breathing issues, trouble walking or climbing stairs, all while working a full time job and having a part time business. In 2010, I finally said – enough, this is not how my life was to be. I did not want my daughter seeing me give in. Working with an amazing Rheumatologist – my main take away from our discussions was “just keep moving”. Take a walk to the mailbox and back, walk around your kitchen table, stretch, swim – whatever you do, just keep moving. So I began walking more again, very slowly. I couldn’t always do it when I wanted to, so I did it when I could. I began walking/jogging and towards the end of 2010 I participated in my first 5k, benefitting the Lupus Foundation. Then I had a setback and couldn’t walk far or run for a year. UNACCEPTABLE. Get back up and try again! In 2012 I found a local running group, S.W.I.F.T. (Strong Women in Fitness Together). I went for my first “group run”. Although I struggled (bad), I didn’t give up. I kept going back and did what I was able. They were so supportive and with a lot of grit I begin participating in more races.
An example of not giving up for me is the Marine Corps Marathon. 2016 was going to be my year to run my first marathon with my sister. I trained as well as I could, when I could. I was ready. Extreme heat though for that time of year (October), I was not. I was also not ready for my calf sleeves to slip, causing me issues that sent me to the hospital. Ugh. I was trained for this. So I didn’t give up. A month later I ran, and completed the Philadelphia Marathon. As excited as I was, I wanted Marine Corps. It was a goal I had not finished. 2017, I’m going to do it this time. Nope, health related issues again and had to withdraw at mile 15. Not accepting it as defeat, I ran and completed the Rehoboth Marathon. I can finish a marathon, why can’t I finish Marine Corps? 2018, this is my year. I decided not to run it with my sister and boyfriend. I needed to run alone, at my pace, to accomplish this alone. Mission accomplished!! I say this not to gloat, but to let others know that just because you can’t complete the goal you set out the first time, make adjustments and just keep moving. I am a runner. I may not be fast, I may not always do well….but I keep moving. With guidance from my doctor, in 2013 I weaned off all medications and have not had any auto-immune markers in my blood work for the last 6 years. Forward is a pace, no matter what you have going on in your life. Just keep moving.
What People Say
“The journey is the destination”Dan Eldon
“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”Maya Angelou
“Determination is the wake-up call to the human will.”Tony Robbins