Starting Your Journey

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You may have a difficult time accepting your new situation, but denying reality won’t help.

Being diagnosed with a challenging condition is much like being thrown into the middle of a ghost story. All of a sudden, your world has changed. Things that you once believed may no longer hold true. It’s OK to be scared. Fear is absolutely a valid emotion given the situation and it is a feeling that you should not ignore. However, you cannot deny your new reality. To get started, you must first accept that, whether you like it or not, you are on a journey.

Many of you might be thinking something along the lines of, “I don’t want a #%&!ing journey; I just want to get rid of this disease.” If there is an easy fix for your disease, you should absolutely take it. If a simple surgery, a well-established regimen of medication, or any other validated combination of therapies will cure your disease without having a major impact on your quality of life, absolutely go for it. But, if this simple fix doesn’t exist, odds are that you are on a journey.

It can be helpful to look at your diagnosis as a gift, which at this stage in your journey may understandably be a very difficult thing to do, especially if you’ve just been recently diagnosed. But for many people, being confronted with a long-term illness can be a turning point, and the motivation to live a more thoughtful, purposeful, and healthier life. Although it seems counter-intuitive, illness can actually be a life-enhancing gift, forcing us to take stock of what matters in life, and for many of us, to nourish our whole selves for the first time.

What gift could you receive from your long-term illness?

Living a longer, fuller life because of the lessons you’ve learned