For most of us, being given a diagnosis determines our outlook. The upper hand is on our diagnosis, and somehow controls us. In that process, we sometimes lose trust in the professionals and physicians that are helping us along our journey.
Just recently, while driving with my mother-in-law, we were listening to a preacher on the radio share about how a 96 year old woman got healed because she refused to believe her diagnosis. The essence of his story was we live our lives based on what we choose to believe. If we believe we’re healthy or cured, that can sometimes become true in our physical body.
In this episode, I’d like to touch on a topic that can empower you, change your view on diagnosis, and how not to let your diagnosis define you.
My Own Personal Experience
When I was ten years old, I almost died from appendicitis. It was a simple disease, but being misdiagnosed three times with colitis put me at the brink of death. I eventually went into septic shock from a burst appendix and colon. I was finally diagnosed correctly on my fourth visit to the hospital and underwent surgery immediately. I was in a coma for ten days, my lungs were filled with water, and my kidneys were not functioning properly. In short, I was very close to dying.
However, I refused to die. I kept fighting, and decided to live. The whole ordeal was difficult, I went through a lot of downs in my recovery, but that didn’t stop me from recovering. I was able to celebrate my 11th birthday in the ICU and every birthday thereafter until today.
My story as they say is a miracle, a second opportunity gifted to me because of a higher purpose. I do believe that, but I also believe my willpower to survive paved the way too.
What It Taught Me
That experience taught me to not let my diagnosis define me. My will to live gave me the power to defy the odds up to this day. For me, a diagnosis is not a definition of a human, a diagnosis is a picture of my body at that moment in time and anything and everything can change.
I’ve also come to realize the power of the mind. How we as humans can identify with the illness, or we can notice all the other parts of our body that are still healthy. We have the power to choose which situation we want to be in.
In my struggles with fertility, mindfulness has also taught me to not let a diagnosis be a permanent status. Several doctors told me I won’t be able to conceive, but here I am, now a mother.
Another Defining Experience
Five years after my near death experience, another incident changed my life. I was crossing the road when I was fifteen, and got hit by a car. Luckily, I was carrying a backpack with my textbooks, the bag served as my cushion when I hit the ground.
At that moment, a passerby came to help me. Coincidentally he was also a doctor. He checked me and said other than a broken leg, I was okay. Two of the bones in my right leg were broken and were displaced from each other five fingers apart.
I went into surgery, and the next morning the doctor came to see me and told me it’ll take a year for me to recover and be able to walk. And I’ll have to use crutches for at least six months.
The usual stubborn me asked, “what can make my progress faster?” And he said, with consistent physio, my legs will heal on their own time. Those were magic words for me. Again, with will power and determination, I religiously did my physio, exercised, and independently practiced walking on my own. Despite pain and hardship, I endured those moments. In just six months, I was walking normally.
Up until today, I still struggle physically with the after effects of what I went through, but those are just miniscule compared to what I’ve learned and where I am at the moment.
I trust experts and doctors fully, but I also know and believe that it is our responsibility what we do to our body, what we decide on. And if we decide not to be defined by a diagnosis, that will reflect how we respond to a situation.
And so when I say trust, it doesn’t mean just relying on what they say, it means being committed one hundred percent and co-work with your doctor to reach your desired goal.
At the end of the day a diagnosis does not change your name or your personality. It is a photo of your body at that moment in time. Even if you do get diagnosed with a chronic or terminal condition, mindset can change the experience. It might not change your health status, but it changes the experience.
Your diagnosis doesn’t define you, but what you choose to do will.