Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine


Foundation for Mitochondrial Medicine

Not Giving In


Susan Schreer Davis, contributing writer and Voice of Hope for all those seeking inspiration in their day-to-day lives. Follow along each week at, and on social media.

Some days it pops up like an afternoon thunderstorm. On others, it settles in my bones, unwilling to loosen its grip.

A recent bout of discomfort came to a head after I laid on an MRI machine for close to two hours. An overzealous nurse had tried to do me a favor by squeezing three scans into the space of two. Looking back, I should’ve balked at her kindness and insisted on the scheduled break.

But I didn’t—and ended up weeping as a result.

Six steroid shots in my back and a strong anti-inflammatory have calmed things at the moment. But my psyche took a hit. I dove deep into the underworld.

Days before entering the MRI machine, I attended a conference that required a lot of leg work—and my legs struggled. If I allowed my right leg to move forward in a normal stride, the pain intensified, the sciatic kind that travels down. So, I wore my AFO’s, leaned on a walker, and shuffled along.

Elated to be home, I fell prey to sadness when my sister sent a text affirming my decision to skip her son’s out-of-town college graduation. Between the travel, heat, and walking requirements I would’ve been miserable. No doubt.

However, as I lay on my bed, recovering from the MRI’s, I wanted to yell, “It’s not okay that I didn’t go. I didn’t go because my legs don’t work well.”

They haven’t for ten years. But as I’ve recently slowed, the world has seemed to spin faster round about me.

Dizzy, I just want off. I want to hide under my covers and accept my lot in life. But I can’t jump ship. Deep down, I can’t.

Which brings to mind a story I read last February.

In the Wall Street Journal article, Trump’s North Korean Defector: The Harrowing Full Story, John Lyon explains how Ji Seong-ho lost his leg and arm in a train accident. “Back at home, he [Mr. Ji] was alive but consumed by guilt. Seeing his younger sister and brother eat less so he could eat was unbearable. ‘I tried to die, but it is harder to die than you think,’ he said. ‘After that, I started to think about how to live.’”

(Lyons, John. “Trump’s North Korean Defector: The Harrowing Full Story.” The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 1, 2018.)

For the same reason Mr. Ji couldn’t figure out how to die, I can’t throw the towel in just yet. For one, the North Korean limped his way through rough terrain to find freedom. And I sit here, in my cabin-like home, free to write, express… and live.

Yes, the pain wears me out and the slow steps hamper my longing for speed. But I have a long way to go before my suffering touches the likes of Mr. Ji. And just like him I don’t want to give up.

About the Author: Susan Schreer Davis lives with her husband, their cat named, Eggs, and the challenging effects of mitochondrialdisease. Learn more about Susan, her latest book and many songs at:

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