Jodi has been living with MS for over 11 years. As her MS progressed, Jodi began to experience trips and falls. At first, Jodi made a few excuses: maybe the saddle on the floor was too high or the sidewalk was uneven. As her trips increased, negativity creeped in. She didn’t want to hide her trips, but she did because she needed to be brave for herself and her family.
As time went on, Jodi began to understand what being brave really meant.
Brave meant facing the fact that her mobility was compromised because of the MS, and what was happening to her body wasn’t her fault. Being brave meant accepting that being unproductive and negative about her declining mobility wasn’t working. Jodi realized that a negative outlook on life and her MS was pointless. The MS still progressed. She still tripped. She still fell. And using her child’s stroller to her herself around the mall without falling was no longer cutting it. But amidst her continued struggle, she felt her bravery growing.
For Jodi, being brave meant accepting her journey as a strong woman living with MS.
With her newfound bravery, Jodi set the stroller aside and began walking with a cane. Soon thereafter, Jodi found that a rollator/walker was easier for her to use. Now, Jodi chooses whatever mobility device she wants based on her activity and/or how she is feeling. Whether it’s a rollator, walker, or power scooter, Jodi loves that she has choices.
Using a mobility device or power scooter helped Jodi lift the mask on the reality of her life. She realized that denying her journey wasn’t who she was. Naturally driven, she was ready to fight! Incorporating a mobility device into her life made Jodi feel empowered and allowed her to remain true to herself. She is still able to cook for her family, be a successful Mortgage Broker, garden, go zip lining and write on her thriving blog, Edible Monster.
MS couldn’t define Jodi; she wouldn’t let it.
Most recently, Jodi realized, through reading, Brene Brown, that one cannot show courage without showing/being aware of your vulnerability. Jodi stated “I hadn’t heard that until after I truly felt courageous for living fully with a chronic illness and really practicing the “never give up” attitude. But when I heard her speak those words just recently in her Netflix special, it all made sense to me. Looking back, part of my personal growth process WAS being vulnerable – accepting my life with mobility challenges and being unafraid to step out with a mobility aid. It is very hard to let go of what other people think, especially if you are a people pleaser like myself. Acceptance led to comfort which led to joy. My joy. Albert Einstein said one of my favorite quotes, “You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it.” The whole point of my advocacy is to pursue your passions, unapologetically. Chronic illness or not, if you want something bad enough you will find a way to make it happen. In my case, I can no longer walk. I am not, however, destined to live sitting still. I paved my own way, in my own time, but took purposeful action every day to get here. “
Jodi truly believes that she is living better now than before she was diagnosed. Although she admits that living with MS is not how she pictured her life, she makes a conscious effort every day to find peace with whatever MS throws at her. “Life is meant to be lived” Jodi said, and she is ready to live her life to the fullest and conquer anything, and she’s not about to let MS stop her!