“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” – Mahatma Gandhi
This is a powerful quote. Indomitable means invincible. It means unconquerable. To be indomitable is to be unshakeable.
And of course, our will is our determination.
So if you break this quote down it really means more simply that strength is unshakeable determination.
Living with chronic illness takes this level of strength. Every day a decision must be made to put that will to use, to decide to live and to live well despite pain, despite aliments and despite a never ending foreboding uncertainty.
This strength, this determination, this unsinkable fortitude is something you draw on every day to pull your way through the next 24 hours.
Waking day after day to a disease that won’t go away and that rouses you every morning in breath taking pain and still wanting to be of the world is what this kind of will is all about.
For me, it starts as I rise from fitful sleep, after another night of tossing and turning and attempting to find comfort only to finally drift off out of pure exhaustion. As I rise and my feet hit the floor, I am immediately stuck by two things: the fact that my feet feel broken and a genuine question as to whether my legs will hold me up today.
After getting the question of my leg strength squared away and as the bone pain in my feet subsides, I am left with unwavering and ever present chest tightness making breathing a complicated daily chore including frequent bouts of spasmodic coughing and the need to puff an inhaler.
But my day would not be complete without lurking nausea and an ever present desire to vomit almost everything I eat. This special little treat comes from the medication I take to “manage” the symptoms of my disease.
From time to time, I am stuck with random low grade fevers, thanks to an insanely overactive immune system, that are just enough to knock me off balance and onto the couch for several hours. Thank goodness for Netflix!
And these are only a handful of my daily afflictions. There is also joint pain, back pain, burning nerve pain and my personal favorite…brain fog.
So this is my life with sarcoidosis. I no longer remember what it feels like to feel good. I know others have it worse and I am not complaining.
I am however, very grateful for having a strong determination to live because without it, I would fold like a house of cards. I would go under like a sinking ship. I would give in like a wimp. But I am not a wimp. I am a fighter. I am unshakable. I am strong.
I have an indomitable will.