Navigating Through Pain: A Journey of Graceful Aging and Resilience

by | Apr 4, 2024 | 0 comments

As a young mother and coach, my mantra was once “weakness is leaving the body,” a phrase I leaned on heavily, even considering putting it on a t-shirt or creating merchandise. Now, at 51, I’ve outgrown that philosophy. Let’s face it; I’ve cherished the past 51 years, from doctor-ordered bed rest during pregnancies to completing a 50-mile ultra-marathon and explaining my health history to paramedics. I’ve lived a life rich in experience.

That night in the hospital, I found myself repeating, “Yes, I have MS and lupus, with a history of palpitations. Yes, I just finished an ultra-marathon. But I think the issue is dehydration; I mismanaged my fluids and took caffeine pills for the first time to mark the 8th anniversary of my MS diagnosis.” Frustrated by the lack of care, I eventually left, disappointed at not receiving the IV fluids I needed, eager to grab dinner before restaurants closed.

I appreciate the lessons of the past 51 years, but I’d feel like a fraud wearing that old mantra on a t-shirt.

As the Founder of Empower Fitness, my motto is now, “don’t fear pain; it’s your body communicating. But for goodness’ sake, heed its messages.” At 51, I’m grateful for the belly that slowed me down during the Athens Marathon in Greece. It was a signal that something needed to change. It took a year, but I figured it out for now. I’m training for life, not just to train. While I rarely use a treadmill, and my MS balance may hold me back on some days, when I feel good, I’ll run wherever I can, especially on the same island my mom grew up. I’m grateful for the chance to walk on the same beach where my mother played as a child.

I’ve stopped seeking pain and started seeking grace in aging. I used to rush through life, afraid of each passing year and the loss of my physical abilities. Now, I’ve done enough to savor the journey. I used to resent sleeping in, afraid of missing a sunrise. Now, I cherish those moments, waking up pain-free to watch as many sunsets as possible.

How did I reach this point? I learned that change over time is natural and necessary. I’ve discovered that being a bit more like bamboo, flexible and resilient, suits me better than the rigid rock I once was.


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