COURAGE is not the absence of fear…

“Courage is NOT the absence of fear. Rather it is the decision that something else is more important.”

This quote has had a permanent place in my spirit and heart ever since I heard it. Although I first discovered it in a Disney movie (Princess Diaries) -don’t laugh- it has become one of my life’s most important mantras.

It would have been very easy to give up and accept what I was being told in 2003. When I found myself losing my eyesight, (3) different optometrists told me there was nothing wrong with me or my eyes. In the face of the fear that my eyesight was fading forever or that I was crazy, I decided that something else was more important. I had to know the truth and then I could create the battle strategy. I never saw MS coming – no pun intended…

It wasn’t that I wasn’t afraid – I was TERRIFIED! But I didn’t allow the fear, to paralyze me into doing nothing or worse, simply accepting what the (3) optometrists said. I decided that I wasn’t crazy, and knowing the truth was more important. And that’s how I traveled the uphill path to the MS diagnosis in June 2003.

There was not a single moment along that journey that I was not absolutely TERRIFIED. All that I knew was that I had lived an exemplary and healthy life, was a stellar athlete, and that I had done nothing to bring this upon myself. So I deserved to know the truth. There was a battle strategy to plan. There was something more important than my fear.

The diagnosis of MS was absolutely DEVASTATING in every sense of the word. To me and my family, it was simply not possible. Again, I was faced with a decision. Either give up and die, or decide that living whatever life I would have left, was more important and thus worth fighting for.

None of this has anything to do with courage. And courage is not thriving in denial. On a more simple level, thriving in denial is simply deciding that something else is more important. Its the decision that you will deny MS and all of the crazy and crippling symptoms. Its the decision that you will not ‘hang out’ with the disease and become cozy with it. Its the decision that a life with MS will be lived on my terms, MY WAY. It’s the decisions that doctors work for me as consultants and unless I’m in crisis, I call the shots regarding my health. No, courage is not the absence of fear. Its simply the decision that something else is more important. Thriving in Denial – live YOUR life YOUR way…

Nancy Thomas, CEO/Founder/MS Coach, Thriving In Denial

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