A Letter to My Body Five Years Later

Three games of volleyball a night is getting a lot tougher than it used to be. I’m not sure if it’s because of my age (40 is just around the corner) or my chronic illness—even five years into my diagnosis, it’s still tough to tell the difference sometimes.
The end of this year marks my fifth anniversary since being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. I try to think back on those early days and where I thought I’d be at this point. Of course, I’d hoped to be fitter, stronger, more confident in my knowledge of my disease.
And yet, if I could truly go back and feel what I felt at that time, I was afraid and uncertain that I’d even be able to regain the mobility I once had. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to walk again, with no significant problems in the five years since that initial attack.
For that reason, it feels fitting on the brink of this milestone anniversary to write a thank you letter of sorts to a body that has seen me through the rollercoaster ride that is MS.
So, dear body, today I thank you for walking again—for jumping, running, and, yes, playing three games of volleyball.
Thank you for allowing me to continue to have fun with my children, from exploring local parks to taking them to Mount Rushmore for the first time.
Thank you, in fact, for letting me have a lot of first times over the last five years—traveling to new cities, running races, even hiking in the mountains with my husband and best friends. Every time I complete one of these adventures, I realize it could be my one and only chance, so I appreciate each and every time you allow me to check something off the bucket list.
As grateful as I am, though, it’s difficult not to want those good times to continue—I think it’s human nature to always crave a little bit more. There are still many adventures I want to embark on, from finally taking my kids to Disney World to dancing at their weddings someday.
The truth is no one knows what the future holds. But even if I won’t be able to do some of these things the way I envision them now, it doesn’t mean they aren’t still possible.
And so, dear body, as we enter our next five years of this illness, I’ll do what I can to take care of you and stay as healthy as possible. But, there might come a day where we need to adapt. I promise that, if and when the time comes, I’ll work hard to adjust without too much fuss.
No matter what the future holds, dear body, I promise that we’ll keep going. Come what may, we won’t give up on each other.
Tags Healthy Living      4 Appreciate this

Elissa Dickey

Elissa Dickey lives in Aberdeen, South Dakota with her husband and children. A former journalist, she is now an author who also works in communications at a university. Her debut novel, The Speed of Light, will be published in spring 2021 by Lake Union Publishing.