My Resolution

The holidays can be a difficult time for those living with MS. Some of us struggle with travel, or with the reminder that relationship dynamics change, and having to work double time to keep symptoms in check during flu and party seasons.
So with the start of the new year, it’s the perfect time for reflection, to gather ourselves and to perhaps make some New Year’s resolutions.
We vow to lose weight, drink less, quit smoking, and travel more. But how do we, as MSers, plan for the year ahead when our lives are often driven by a disease that changes from day to day, sometimes hour to hour? Can this disease keep up with our long-term expectations?
I stopped making “formal” New Year’s resolutions years ago, but I do use my diagnosis date and my last MRI as markers for comparison to the year prior. There’s no particular reason for me to do this, and I’m sure many others do the same. It just seemed like a natural thing to do.
So, when that time of year comes around, I ask myself:
How did I feel the last time I sat in my doctor’s office to hear the results of my scans? What have I noticed that has changed since last year—physically, mentally and emotionally? Have I been an advocate for myself in the past year? Am I more informed than I previously was? What can I do within my power to live my best, healthiest life? Am I being a good role model and spokesperson for others struggling with a chronic condition?
I keep my “resolutions” challenging, but realistic and achievable.
I resolve to not let MS stop me from doing anything I want to do.
I resolve to continue to advocate and educate, for myself and for others.
I resolve to not allow myself to feel guilty for having the abilities that I still do. I resolve to feel “enough.”
I resolve to exercise more, not to lose an "x" number of pounds, but to maintain and improve my balance, reaction time, strength and flexibility.
And I resolve to remain grateful:
For my husband and family—the best support system I could ask for.
For my disease remaining (mostly) stable.
For my friends, who regularly check in on me.
For the MS community, for continuing to encourage and inspire me.
And most importantly, I resolve to just live. Because life doesn’t stop here. Even if MS makes us pause for moments in time, life keeps going. 

And I resolve to go along with it.
Tags Diagnosis, Healthy Living, Symptoms      6 Appreciate this
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Cat Stappas

Cat was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2013 and writes about her experiences in her blog, It's Only A Bruise. She hopes to make the dark corners of the internet a little bit less scary for both the newly and the long-time diagnosed with some honesty, positivity and — sometimes — some tongue-in-cheek humor. You can read her blog here and follow her on FacebookTwitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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  • Linda L Halvorson   Jan 3, 2018 12:09 PM
    Like the last line.
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    maria1  Jan 3, 2018 2:24 PM
    okay Cat, they say some roads are paved with the best intentions. If perchance, you do not reach all your goals, what will be your mindset? How will you react? Making goals is great, I use to do that often, sometimes I even achieved and excelled. When I did not win... Living with ms is as much how we choose to react when faced with choices we can not achieve. taking care of ourselves is more planning for every outcome. If I fail at least I tried. Without trying we have no measure of ourselves. Be strong no matter whether you succeed or not. I want you to achieve all you goals for 2018 and to celebrate them with you, and to celebrate your efforts if you do not.
  • dustydee   Jan 5, 2018 1:42 PM
    My resolution this year was to get in the best shape I can taking my MS into consideration. My other resolution was to be better at knowing my limitations. I have recently lost a little over 29lbs. I joined weight watchers and it has helped me make better choices on the food I eat. I hope to continue and try to move more this year when I can. I try not to let my MS restrict me from doing things I am physically able to do on my good days. We all have those bad days where many things are not possible. I do not beat myself up on those days.
  • Jil Deabler   Jan 9, 2018 8:48 AM
    Bravo!! I have had MS for almost 29 years and I love the "resolutions" you have made for yourself. Your words were my words then and still are. I must say though, you put it in a much more inspiring way than I probably did lol.

    Please don't think I am totally crazy but I would say that in many ways MS has been a blessing in my life. As a young wife and mother, MS presented a choice for was I going to live my life for my family and for myself. I made the same choice you made, to live life, to experience new things, to create memories, to accomplish goals and dreams, to meet people, to love and be loved...and to appreciate it all for what it was and still is. So many people take everyday things for granted, things that some of us with MS have issue to get through the day, mobility, career choices and abilities, maintaining relationships, feeling accepted etc....I resolved/resolve to not be one of those people. I look at my life as one that is "well lived." Even with my MS, maybe partly because of it, I am grateful and pretty proud of myself and I have lots of amazing memories.

    Cat, if you make these same "resolutions" as the years go by, I'm hopeful that you will feel the same way. So far, so good! Again, bravo!
  • Georgia   Jan 11, 2018 7:57 AM
    I love what I have read on your post on ms. Encouraging and inspiring to move on.
    OK, i have to take a new perspective on life. Thank you for your encouraging me to enjoy life to its fullest
  • Randy   Jan 18, 2018 7:30 PM
    Cat, thanks for this point of perspective. I was diagnosed on August 14th of last year, so the newness of this has yet to wear off. Not that it ever will wear off, right? I did not do any resolutions per se, because I'm still working through the symptoms and physical deterioration I've had. But I'm back into trying to play golf and re-learning the things I can do/ need to refine so I can stay active. For me right now, I'm just making sure I get out there and do everything I can and stay the course.

    Thanks for the blog. I'll be checking in for some more inspiration.
  • D'Norgia Taylor-Price   Jan 18, 2018 8:09 PM
    Hello Cat, thank you for this post. "I resolve to not let MS stop me from doing anything I want to do." That has been my song since I was diagnosed: February 1986.
  • Barbara Warren   Jan 20, 2018 2:10 AM
    I truly attempt to eat correctly and workout daily, Im not on meds at this time: due to the cost of med. I do take my other medications, physician even took me off insulin after 23 years.
    Yes my gait is off, I walk as much as possible with out my cane. I'm doing quite well.
    Thank you for allowing me to voice my story.
  • Marilyn   Jan 21, 2018 10:28 PM
    Barbara Warren wrote that she isn’t on MS meds due to the cost. I wanted to tell her that many of the companies that make those drugs will work with people who need them but cannot afford them. It’s worth looking into! When I was 1st diagnosed back in 1995 my nuerologist prescribed betaseron & the company sold it to me @ a discounted rate because I cudn’t afford the regular price. It helped minimize my symptoms & turn things around. I now take Copaxone 3 x wk & am doing well, plus low dose naltrexone nightly. When I push too hard my left foot starts dragging a bit & I sometimes stagger a bit (may walk like a drunk @ times, but I never drink alcohol). I need @ least one really good ‘rest day’ per week or I’ll crash & require 2 or 3 (or more, occasionally) b4 some semblance of energy returns. I just turned 66, so also slowing down with age. But life is good with my wonderful, supportive husband, for whom I will be forever grateful. And I find fulfillment in helping others who are struggling. There are always people out there in worse shape who cud use some encouragement. Giving it lifts us both:-)
  • jeanne   Jan 25, 2018 6:40 PM
    Thumbs up. (except I can't do that) Keep up the tongue in cheek humor!