To the diagnosed person,
I know that I am probably writing to the majority of the U.S.A., but I felt that this letter needed to be written just to you. Yes, you there; you with the recent diagnosis. What did the doctor say? Cancer? ADHD? AIDS? Depression? Diabetes? I know I could go on, but I would get writers cramp if I tried to name all the possible diagnoses in the world. Every day there are so many who receive diagnoses, and while many are mere viruses, many are fatal diagnoses. “You have six months to live,” or, “you will need to take this medication for the rest of your life.” Maybe, “your results came back and we are concerned.” Whatever the doctor had to say, here is what I have to say to you:
This diagnosis doesn’t define you.
While it will affect your life, some in big ways and some in only slight ways, a diagnosis is only a label. A label that describes something going on in your body/mind, but a label only. Maybe you feel like you are responsible for this, and while some lifestyles may have contributed to where you are today, please don’t blame yourself. Don’t beat up your old self. Even if there was something you could have done to prevent or lessened the severity of your present day circumstances, there is no revisiting your past (sadly the time machine hasn’t been invented yet). The only thing you can do now is look forward and figure out what needs to be done for the future you. But, that is not why I am writing.
Someone giving you a label describing what is going on inside you doesn’t force that label to become your life. Yes, things will most likely change; you might attend therapy sessions or support groups, or surgery and intense medical treatments may be in your future.
You can do this!
Remember, its a name. YOU are more than a name/label/diagnosis. YOU are important. YOU are loved. YOU have a purpose in this life. What makes you happy? What gives you energy or purpose? Focus on those things and you can do it! No matter what you are faced with, I know you can do it! There is too much in this life to be caught up in a label. If those around you are dwelling on it, then maybe you need a break from them (I am not suggesting that you remove yourself from your support system, or run from concerned loved ones who are trying to help you get the help YOU need, simply that you examine those around you, how they are making you feel, and deciding if they’re helping or hurting) . If everyone around you is weepy in response to your “one month to live” diagnosis, go get some fresh air and make your last moments your best!
I guess what I am trying to tell you is that although the doctor put a name to whatever is going on, it doesn’t mean that he/she renamed you. You are still you; inside and out. You decide how you will react to this news; how you will live your life with this new development. So I challenge you: be the best you can be, no matter what. Your attitude on this is the key to how your life will be from here on out. Choose joy!
And to close, here is something to lift your spirits. I had heard of Team Hoyt before but never paid much attention to the details. Did you know the dad is in his 70s? He’s still running races! How awesome is that? Check out this video of the father-son duo Team Hoyt:
So don’t let that label get you down, there is so much more to you than a diagnosis!