You are More than a Diagnosis

Receiving the DiagnosisI have friends who recently received devastating diagnoses.  One learned from the doctor that she has lupus.  Another received a school evaluation that stated her daughter has autism.

In the moment you receive that diagnosis, something changes.

It is hard to forget, at that moment, that you* are more than your diagnosis.

You are the same person who you were yesterday.  Anything you were capable of doing yesterday, you are capable of doing today.

Yes, there are more limits, more restrictions on what you can do.  They may be dietary or physical restrictions, but these restrictions do not change who you are.  It does not change your personality, the friend you are, the parent you are, the child he is.  It does not have the power to make you any less of a person.

The diagnosis does not define you.  It describes your health.  It is not you, merely a new way to describe something that, deep down, you knew already.

It is hard when the world recognizes what you have tried to deny for so long.  There is a loss.  Grieving is part of receiving the diagnosis.  But don’t let that grief turn into depression.  Don’t let that grief turn you into something that you otherwise are not.  Take the time you need to process what this diagnosis means for your life, because yes, the diagnosis is life-changing.  It is not a cold, where everything will be “normal” in a few days.  You are facing a new normal, new restrictions, new medical procedures.

But you are still you.  Don’t let go of that.

*  If you are reading this and a diagnosis is about a child, a parent, or someone else you love, please take liberties when reading this.  Your child is more than her diagnosis.  Your father is more than his diagnosis.  Language structure prevents me from encompassing everyone in this support, so I just type “you.”

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