An interview of Debbi Wright, submitted by Carrie Leigh Sandoval
What would you do if you found out you were diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis?
How would you feel about your life if waking up in the morning meant it was painful and difficult to get out of bed? Every single day?
What if there was nothing predictable about the symptoms you'd experience throughout your day? Having numb, limp fingers that can't pick things up, falling and struggling to get back up, your vision fading away.
Think about going outside in the winter to get in the car and your legs refuse to bend. What if you had to wear a brace so your foot wouldn't drop? What if you couldn't go for a walk holding hands with a friend because you need those hands to guide the walker you're using to get from one place to the next?
Who would you choose to be if all the things you thought were you . . . were gone?
A child of God, daughter, sister, aunt, great aunt and even great great aunt; but most of all, she is a friend to everyone she meets. A woman - thoughtful, selfless and wise. Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 22 years ago, she sees each day as a gift and an opportunity, rather than a struggle. Even more amazingly, it is clear that she is humbled by her diagnosis. Every day she makes an effort to take what she’s learned to help teach others; through coaching, volunteer work and her position as a Live Wright advisor, she truly brightens lives. Achieving this level of strength has been a continuing process for Debbi, and it definitely hasn’t always been easy.
The fact that Multiple Sclerosis, a painful physical, mental and emotional disease, has been an extremely enlightening experience for Debbi, is testament to her character. For decades she worked as a secretary. She loved her job, and it was her life. That is, until MS forced her to retire early. The symptoms were debilitating: optic neuritis (loss of vision), frequent numbness and tingling sensations in her limbs and eventually being able to walk only with the assistance of a walker. With an abundance of time to reflect, she began to take inventory of her life. The same things no longer seemed so important. What was left? She realized that she was the ony constant in her life.
With this newly discovered point of reference, she chose to be herself, walking proudly with her walker. Out with the old, in with the new. Materialistic items didn’t matter much anymore. And being a sourpuss, well that was out of the question. This process strengthened her partnership with God and taught her how to appreciate herself. She defined her strengths and rebuilt her life upon this new foundation. Despite on-going treatment that never seemed to end and no known cure for MS, Debbi persevered. Not only that, she decided to take what she’d learned and pay it forward.
She found joy in the interactive experience of volunteering her time to help others. Because of her willingness to work on herself, she was and is able to assist those on a similar path and simultaneously reinforce what she has learned. Her humility is comforting to those she teaches. And her authenticity shows them that it’s okay for them to be who they are. Through her work, Debbi inspires everyone she meets to be the best version of him or herself. This creates a ripple effect, and the positive influence is exponential.
Debbi has taken negative labels, bad situations and immense pain, and showered them with the purest love and acceptance. From her heart, she lives so eloquently, so peacefully. Although her disease is a part of her, it does not define her; she is defined only by the moment at hand. Each day is an opportunity for her to live fully and courageously, placing one foot in front of the other in complete faith. Her self awareness and honesty ease the hang-ups and bang-ups, not only for herself, but for those she meets. She proclaims the necessity of placing ourselves in challenging situations and encourages us to “pass the test.” Above all, she teaches us that we have the capacity to love beyond limits and create our lives the way we choose.