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What it Means to Persevere

Monday, April 25, 2016

The following definitions are taken from an old Webster's Dicitionary
Perseverance -1) The act or quality of persisting. 2) Continuance in a state of grace until it is succeeded by a state of glory.

Persevere - To persist in any enterprise undertaken in spite of counter influences, opposition etc.

Persistent- inclined to persist, tenacity, doggedness, perseverance.

These definitions bring to mind a dog with a bone. Guarding it, and chewing it until it is decimated. Growling at any motion by others to come too close or to take the bone away.

I would like to be described as tenacious.
I've had some real challenges in my life. I spent two years in a wheelchair, having been told by rehab doctors that I would never walk again. I refused to consider that as an option. Instead I worked HARD, with PT and finally the glorious day came when I WALKED on my own power up to that rehab unit where I had spent 3 months initially....The look on those doctors' and therapists' faces when they saw me was worth every bit of hard work I had put in!

My weight loss efforts also might be described as tenacious. I Have lost 50-70 pounds probably 5 or 6 times in my life since Asthma made its appearance in 2000 following a serious case of fungal pneumonia. Steroids--given for weeks or months on end in an IV (which is 100 x more potent than pill form)--cause me to pack on weight. And they weaken my muscles to varying points of difficulty in locomotion....Time after time I have fought back and lost the weight and regained strength....only to be knocked back to the starting line by a new round of drugs.

I'm not recounting this in any way, to try to gain kudos from you. I"m just saying that this has been my journey...and there are times when I'm up to my neck in discouragement. Now, suffering from psoriatic arthritis (PsA), I am faced with my greatest challenge to date. I have had both hips replaced. 5 surgeries and 7 dislocations on my left hip;.one shoulder replaced (with the other one needing it), and my greatest problem? Two ankles that are bone on bone, which cause me excruciating pain to simply walk the 20 feet from my room to the kitchen. Walking had been my exercise of choice since I've had to hang up my roller blades. And now walking is no longer possible.

SO I plan to do chair exercise....I have researched it and found some very challenging workouts which will take me weeks to master and complete. But I will do it. Getting started, as you all know, is the hardest part. It takes more energy to mobilize a static object than it does to maintain motion in an moving object....And this well applies to people as well.

I think the most important aspect of this journey is the mental "game"....We should not view ourselves as struggling or failing....this gives us permission to slack off and to "cheat" on our food plan. I've had times when I despaired of being successful...and those are the times when I've experienced the greatest failures and gains in weight. It is important to view yourself as strong. As a winner. TO look forward to the day when you can run or walk that race you have your sights set on. TO step on the scale and see your goal met. It is important not to allow yourself to doubt or to despair that these things will happen.

Granted, I now have physical challenges that I did not have before. I may never do that half marathon...but that doesn't mean I can't have a lean, strong body! I may never make it to 110 pounds simply because the steroids come too frequently to be able to get that far. But I CAN get to 170 or 160 and right now, that sounds awesome.

Never say "Never". Never roll over and quit. Sure you face challenges that I may not. But it all is equal in the end. Your personal best may be better than mine. or visa versa. But it is YOUR personal best effort that you should keep your sights on...never mind mine. It is my job to take my body and make it as strong and lean as it can be. I do not want to be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life, and granted, with this disease, it may happen. But I know that if I fight every day for independence, I am pushing that date with the wheelchair farther and farther into the future. And on the day when I cannot get out of the chair, if I can say to myself as the apostle Paul did, "I have fought the good fight, " then that wheelchair will hold no shame for me.

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