Today's Most Important Mile is from Julie Burke, mother runner of two who lives in Greenville, S.C.
Being diagnosed with MS was completely terrifying. I knew nothing about this disease. The only plan I really had was to stay as strong as I could and try to not let it change my life. Great idea, but I didn’t know if I could really do it.
My first really big test came when I had a new flare-up that meant five days of intravenous Methylprednisolone. On day two of the treatment, I had an 8K race scheduled. I was determined to run that race despite what was going on. If I could run the race, I could prove that I was in charge.
Well I did run the race, but I felt awful. Suffice it to say, there are many side effects when you are pumping this much medication into your body. I decided not to run again until I was off the medication and feeling better. This felt like a huge defeat to me.
By day seven of treatment (no more IVs, but “tapering off” with large amounts of oral Prednisone), I felt sick, exhausted, and depressed. I needed to go running. I decided to go easy on myself with a slow, short jog. Instead, I had the most amazing five-mile run that I have ever had. Getting back to what I love doing was exactly what my body needed. I needed to feel strong again. I needed the runner’s high much more than any other medication. I needed the chance to think about everything and nothing at all. At some point during this run, I knew I was stronger than MS. I knew I would never let it stop me. I didn’t have to wonder anymore.