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When I Changed My Thinking From ‘I Can’t’ to ‘Why Can’t I?’

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I am a Londoner, born and raised. I spent my childhood peppered with visits to the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square. It’s my city, and I love it!

After I decided to have a family of my own, I planned to see the sights of London once again. But here’s the thing: I now live in Boston, which is more than 3,000 miles away. My husband and I do get back to England about once every two years to visit family, but until now I always felt like our two boys were too young to appreciate a vacation in London. This year, at ages 8 and 10, I finally felt they were ready.

But last fall, my multiple sclerosis (MS) reared its ugly head. A bad relapse left me with debilitating weakness and fatigue down my left side. While a trip to England was never in doubt, a day or two out in London just seemed impossible with me unable to walk for more than a few minutes without the pain and weakness setting in my legs. The long tunnels, escalators and stairs of the Underground would be impossible. And driving to London and parking wasn’t even an option.

Desperately disappointed and frustrated by what my MS had taken from me again, I wallowed in self-pity. But then an online friend, who also has MS and is in a wheelchair full-time, posted pictures of herself visiting New York and talked about plans for an upcoming trip to Rome. It was then I realized that I needed to change my thinking from, “I can’t” to “How can I?”

With a new resolve, I researched wheelchair rentals in the U.K. and found a company that delivers them anywhere for a reasonable rate. I arranged to have one delivered to my parents’ house. I pored over maps of the London Underground, noting which stations had elevators and whether they were in proximity to the sights we wanted to see. I checked that the mainline train we would be taking into the city would accommodate a wheelchair easily.

We didn’t end up seeing everything I would have liked to have seen in my beautiful city, but we saw some of it. And I know that next time we see will more because now I know how I can.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

Originally published: August 25, 2016
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