I Am More Than My Diagnosis: A Year in Review
As this community and our sister communities grow, one universal truth is clear: people are more than just their diagnoses. As 2019 comes to a close and a new year begins, we’re celebrating the many ways writers across our communities have found to speak back to their diagnoses, overcome new and evolving challenges, and support others to do the same.
Nobody would ever choose this position, but those who live it find that there is only one direction: forward. Because life demands that you step into this role that requires strength, you find it. You call on it. You push yourself, and somehow, you get through — no matter what. – Kate
Having a disease or chronic illness doesn’t make you strong – you do the work to become stronger in the face of it. From pain and loneliness to super-care partners, these authors take back the power from their conditions.
- Hessiel shares how his IBS chronic pain evolved into strength and motivation in My Pain is My Fuel
- Steff recounts how honesty about ankylosing spondylitis has opened doors in Being Open About Your Chronic Illness
- Parkinson’s care partners discuss the pillars of strength, patience, courage, and love that guide them in Superhero Abilities of Care Partners
- Ashley describes feeling lost and finding determination to restart living in I’m Stronger Because of MS
Do you want to use all of your available resources trying to keep things the same or can we learn to accept the changes, adapt to them and use our resources as necessary? – Barbara
The obstacles are big, and moving around, beyond, or along with them is never easy. These four pieces show the incredible challenges faced and the growth and joy that can be found despite them.
- Maisha realizes the authority and knowledge she has about her own body in How Endometriosis Taught Me to Stand Up for My Needs
- Krystal discusses the irritations of well-intentioned outsiders and her struggle to overcome the insurmountable in Finding Joy
- Barbara details the devastating effect of COPD on her mental health, relationships, and resources in Chronic Illness Changes Everything
- Jaime learns four lessons including admitting when she’s not okay and speaking up for herself at the doctor’s in 4 Things Intractable Migraine Has Taught Me
It is often hard to feel that you are not just “diseased”. It feels as though that’s how you should identify yourself and how others will view you. – Missy
We don’t walk around thinking, “Hey, I’m pretty resilient today!” But on those days when the pressure feels unbearable, maybe it’s time for a reminder. These four stories reveal the stigma, fear, and threats that bodies can throw at us, but also the resilience of the mind and spirit.
- Through knowledge and support, Missy discovers that atopic dermatitis and ulcerative colitis don’t have to define her in When It Feels Like Disease Is All That Defines You
- Julie shares the defeat of living with Crohn’s disease and the moments of hope in When All Hope Seems Lost
- Shelley remembers the moment she realized her type 2 diabetes made her a fighter in Type 2 Diabetes Makes Me Resilient
- Clair’s describes her struggle to take back control of her body in Psoriasis, What Have You Done?
There are tears in my eyes as I write this to all of you fellow caregivers because I know the difficult journey you now have before you. But believe me when I say that you are stronger than you know. Have faith in yourself that you can do this. – Pam
We see mixed feelings in our communities about the word “journey.” One thing we can agree on? There’s a lot to learn post-diagnosis. These articles emphasize the challenges of diagnosis and daily life but also the knowledge that’s gained along the way.
- Pam shares what she’s learned from the gift of time caring for her mother with Alzheimer’s in The Journey of a Caregiver
- Daryl goes from dwelling on past pain to developing his own brand of optimism in A New Year
- David discusses the challenges of being diagnosed young and seeing his life change completely in Wait…How Old Are You?
- Dia describes her own five phases to being a patient, remembering distrust and anger, determination and advocacy in Phases of Being Patient
Having a CF friendship means relating to another human being in a way that no one else will ever understand. It means having a source of compassion, love, and motivation that can only come from someone who has walked that same rocky path you’ve found yourself on. – J.Kaye
What does it mean to be part of a community? How does it feel to know there’s others who really “get it?” These three stories speak to the difference finding your people makes.
- Andrea celebrates her macular degeneration community’s support and information sharing in Heart to Heart
- Elizabeth demonstrates how online support for psoriatic arthritis compares to in-person support systems in The Importance of Online Friends
- J.Kaye explains the unique ways online outlets have revolutionized connection in the cystic fibrosis community in Making CF Friendships Are Worth the Cost
Thank you to all of our community members and advocate teams…we’re looking forward to another year of strength, overcoming obstacles, growing resilience and making connections in 2020!