Hitting life’s curveballs
Ryan Summerlin August 29, 2013
When life throws you a curveball, setting goals can help you knock that curveball out of the park.
At our four-day Can Do Program, we ask all the participants to identify their goals on the first day of the program and again on the last.
When Vivian Gallegos attended our 2012 Can Do Program in Vail, she had no idea the program would be preparing her for the inevitable curveball coming her way.
“It was the most informative four days of my life, and it was great because my best friend, Shawnna, attended as my support partner, which brought us closer than we could ever imagine!” Vivian said.
Vivian hoped to achieve her post-program goals of putting her health and well-being first and learning how to better listen to her body. Our program consultants provided the tools, support and education to accomplish these goals.
“Since the program, I’ve been going on hikes, walks, fishing and picnic lunches,” she said. “I find that helps me achieve both of my goals from the program, staying healthy and putting myself first. Before, I would always be focusing on my family and work. Now, I realize there needs to be some ‘me’ time to keep my mind and body happy.”
Luckily, Vivian didn’t have to work on her goals alone. Her best friend, Shawnna, was at her side assisting and encouraging her. One night after the program, they were just about to begin one of their walks around the neighborhood. It seemed a bit cool for Vivian, so she ran back into the house to grab a sweatshirt.
“I was in my room putting on my sweatshirt and what I call an ‘MS hug’ (exacerbation) hit me and hit hard. I wasn’t able to move my body and was having difficulty breathing. I was stuck and terrified, since this was one of the most intense hugs I’d experienced,” she said.
After waiting several minutes for Vivian, Shawnna became concerned and went in to check on her. Armed with knowledge she gained from the program, she instantly knew what was happening to Vivian and was able to provide her the support she needed.
“Even though there wasn’t anything Shawnna could do to make it go away, it eased my mind knowing that she was in the room, and because of what she learned at the program, she really understood what was happening to me.”
After about 15 minutes, the worst part was over and Vivian was able to move and breathe sufficiently to lie down and try to relax. She experienced severe pains in her back along with breathing issues for about three days, but has since made a full recovery.
After the program, Vivian started a support group in her hometown, Leadville. She was putting herself first, while thinking of others who might have similar needs.
“Meeting such an amazing group of people at the program that talked about how to deal with MS on many levels helped me realize that I wanted a community like that in my hometown, so I could keep learning from others,” she said.
Vivian realized life is full of challenges and one of the best ways of meeting those challenges was by setting goals. She also realized that support from a best friend or a community is crucial. The next time you face a challenge, remember her story, set a goal for yourself, and seek support if necessary. Focus on what you can do and then do it!
For more information on Vivian’s MS support group, contact Vivian at email@example.com or by phone 970-376-3032.
Scott Robinson is the marketing coordinator for Can Do MS, based in Edwards.