I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2007, and it’s been a long journey dealing with pain and sickness. Over the last 11 years I have faced my worst fears, yet I have grown, changed and learned how to better care for myself.
I recently came upon extra money and told my doctor I would like to get more testing for MS done to see if we could get me to a point of feeling better. He surprised me by saying that he wanted to have me get some Lyme testing. Quite a few people have wondered about Lyme since MS and Lyme can mimic each other.
Well, the testing so far is looking like I am dealing with Chronic Lyme Disease.
I am still in the middle of additional testing and results. It’s hard to find the words for the shock my husband and I are feeling at the possibility of an incorrect MS diagnosis all these years. As I have processed over the last few weeks, I have been surprised to notice my shock turning to excitement. I was expecting anger instead.
And as I have shared my news with others, I have noticed that not everyone is having the same reaction as me. Some are reacting with disappointment and anger because they sense I have been wasting my time fighting a disease I didn’t have.
As I have processed why I am feeling the way I am, I have realized this little secret that seems to be a game-changer and is making all the difference for me:
My attention is focused on my recovery and healing, not a disease.
When I first got diagnosed with chronic illness, I went through a period of depression and hopelessness, feeling desperate and fearing the worst. But as time went on, I noticed a change in my disposition when I focused on things that were positive and hopeful; things that lifted my spirit.
Yes, I do believe there is a time and a place to grieve our losses and it’s a good place to pause; to acknowledge the great losses we are facing and the fears that may be attached. But then we must move on to a better place and begin to look for hope…and REFUSE to give up until we find it.
We were made for so much more than a clear-cut diagnosis code; we were made for great hope, joy and encouragement. These are the very things that amplify our life and purpose.
For me, this means I keep my focus on recovery; on the healing I believe God is able to do—and ultimately, on God himself!
Please hear me—if day to day, you're dealing with the consequences of chronic illness, cancer, or whatever sickness it's been for you, I completely understand. I’m in the trenches with you, and I know how difficult it is.
But I choose to be defined by my recovery, not by my disease. And you can do the same.
My challenge for all of us is to focus on our recovery and remember we are Overcomers -- no matter what battles we are fighting. If you're struggling to get to this hope-infused mindset, come talk to me and let’s figure it out together!
Friends, no matter what you face, keep your head up and don’t stop believing for healing. God is at work and we never know what good things he has for us next.
Hope is on the horizon.
Reach for it.
Believe for breakthrough.