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    Posted December 3, 2012 by
    Cumming, Georgia
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    CNN Fit Nation: 2013 Triathlon Challenge

    Social Worker Mother with Multiple Sclerosis and two young children representing!

    Hi! I am a 36-year-old mother of two boys- 4 years old and 1 year old! I am also a social worker at a Children's Hospital and have spent my whole life helping others. Now...I need some help myself. In addition to a busy life, I have Multiple Sclerosis which provides an extra challenge in terms of energy and pain but I am cleared for exercise and am allowed to do all types- including triathalons...woohoo!!!! I think it would be wonderful to be able to represent the MS nation and do this for all those who are no longer able to do it themselves! I am also going through a divorce so it is a period in my life with lots of change, some sadness and fear but also some excitement. I'm actually one of those people who love change and I'm so excited to see what my life is going to bring!

    I have an INCREDIBLE family! My mother is my emotional rock and has been my heart and soul through all of this. My brother is my best friend. He is an Iraqi vet and is the kindest, most loving man and brother anyone could ask for. He has combat associated PTSD but helps me immensely with my boys and loves them as if they were his own. My father is a constant source of encouragement and love and has helped me with so many things in my life. There are no words for my sons. They are my heart and soul and make me grateful everyday to be alive and to be blessed enough to be in their lives. I have wonderful friends and an incredible job at the local Children's Hospital- Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite.

    I am a social worker who works with chronic disease children and on the weekends I cover the Emergency Department and work with victims of physical and sexual abuse. In the past, I have worked with children in foster care, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, and more. I love being a social worker- I was born to do it. My mom tells a story of receiving a phone call when I was nine years old from a friend of hers asking her if she knew that there were flyers all over the bathroom in a local restaurant asking kids if they were being a abused and if they were to call my number! :) I'm very good at giving help but sometimes not as good at asking for it. But...I'm asking for it now.

    Although this is a scary time, I'm actually really proud of myself! I know so many women who are not happy in their marriages and they stay. Don't get me wrong, I understand staying. I stayed for a long time. I didn't want to be away from my boys and I still pray I made the right decision. But I have to believe that there is more out there for me. That I deserve the very best and I have to show my boys that they can never accept anything less than the best!

    My children's father and I have been together since we were 15-years-old. We have been through a lot together and although this is a difficult time, I have faith we will remain friends for a long time. He is a wonderful father and I wouldn't do anything different even if I could go back in time and change anything!

    My friends would describe me as loving, caring, fun, outspoken, driven, stubborn, and strong. Most of my best friends are still my friends from sixth grade and hands down, they are my soul mates.

    My oldest son, Kai, has been diagnosed with Developmental Delay so that has been a difficult process of testing, therapies, and incredible advocacy but I am so grateful that I have the education, experience, and knowledge to know how to advocate for what he needs and to make sure he is given all the opportunities to excel. He is the sweetest, most strong willed, fun child and I am so blessed he chose me as his mother. My youngest son, Asher, is a ball of sunshine and joy and reminds me every day to find happiness in my surroundings and love in a smile!

    I should probably talk a little bit about my MS before I go. I just reviewed my essay and realized I had barely mentioned it. That is so indicative of my life it is not even funny. Most people would never even know I have MS. I never want my kids to look back and think about things we couldn't do or anything they missed out on because I wasn't feeling well so I try to keep trucking on and give them the best life possible. While I do believe in mind over matter, sometimes I think that because I do fake it or don't mention it, that it is easy for people to forget that I do struggle with it everyday and often things that are easy for other people, are not easy for me. In my quest to be strong and never let it slow anyone down, I also don't want to demean it because it is a major part of my life (even if I try to pretend it's not). To be honest, I do have to fake it a lot. Sometimes I don't have the energy or my legs are hurting but I truly believe that you can change your attitude with your thoughts so I choose to think positive, uplifting thoughts and MAKE IT A WONDERFUL day. Most of the time, it works. :)
    But I think I am at a point in my life when I really need to focus on my health and making sure I am the very best me I can be. Being a good mom is the most important thing in the world to me but I realize that in order to do that, I have to prioritize my own needs to. I really need help. I need help with the nutrition of how to feed my body to make it happen. I need help with the exercise on how to make the most out of the time I have to work out. And I need help with accountability and motivation. I promise you, if you pick me, I will be one of the most motivated and dedicated people you have ever met. I go full force and I want this. I want it for all the young moms out there, all the people trying to be brave, for my family, and for myself. I know that with your help I can do this. Thank you for your time and consideration. I won't let you down...and I won't let myself down! Kisses!
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