Medical Conditions No Longer Define Me

By: Peggy Willms

(3 mins)

Unless you are under ten years old, you likely have had more than a dozen illnesses, diseases, or diagnoses. For some, 50 or even 100. It is hard to believe, but true.

How many infections have you had: sinus, urinary tract, or from cuts? How many organ diseases do you have, such as cardiovascular, kidney, or gallbladder? What about mental health caused by depression, anxiety, stress, or obsessive-compulsive behaviors? Any sleep or eating issues? Had the flu or COVID? I could go on, but I am sure you get it – we have all had medical crap.

For years I said things like, “My migraines are back” … “My anxiety is through the roof” … “My O.C.D. is out of control” … “My mania…My insomnia…My M.R.S.A…My multiple surgeries.” MY, MY, MY. If I were a deck of Old Maid cards (don’t say it), a few cards from my deck might be Peggy Chronic Neutropenia, Peggy Hashimotos or Peggy Endometriosis instead of Alto Annie, Tumbledown Tess, or Greenthumb Gert.

For years the medical world got the credit for describing who I was. Whenever a condition snuck into my medical chart, my name and avatar were likely next to it in Webster’s Dictionary. I not only allowed myself to be labeled but my friends and family also labeled me. After all, my mother always told me, “You are the sickest healthy person I know.” Baby Boomer Moms are skilled with “loving” digs.

Proudly, I have never been a hypochondriac and have also respected the medical field. My life consisted of recognizing the symptom or injury, finding the answer, and fixing the problem. However, along the way, I have also had many conditions that have been ongoing and unresolved.

Most recently, I have worked on celebrating how far I have come, baby. Many “labels” in my life have been caused by high-stress levels, poor nutrition, and lack of sleep. Therefore, I can recognize the red flags now and make a choice to course correct. If I do not consciously do so, God puts me on my ass for days until I recognize how I contributed to the current state and fix it.

I have also been switching up my language. Removing the My, My, My. I am switching my verbiage from an ownership perspective. From Victim to Victor mentality. It might sound like this, “I had a migraine,” and not “My migraines are back.” The latter insinuates that something is part of my blueprint. There are consistent conditions I cannot change, such as I no longer have a thumb joint due to carpometacarpal surgery on my left hand, I am minus an appendix, and I have torn my rotator cuffs three times. Those are not conditions that will change.

This week I have entered a land of self-nurturing. I know. Me? What?! Don’t spit your coffee out. I will write more about this in my upcoming book and in blogs, but for now, I will give you a glimpse. I am in a deeper discovery phase. As I work on identifying my needs and wants, I will begin to serve myself and learn to ask others for help as well. It is a disservice to my vibrant personality and upstanding character to define myself as a condition, disease, or diagnosis.

In taking a peek into the past, it is clear that my life represented a distinct phase where I had full and empty tanks of gas; peaks and valleys. The episodes are like clockwork, evidenced by over 40 years of calendars and journals I cannot run from. In most cases, my energy levels reflected many illnesses and conditions that likely could have been prevented. There were phases of working 100 hours a week followed by being in bed with pneumonia for a week or accidents or asthma attacks.

There is no magic pill. Everyone is different. My destressing modalities might differ greatly from yours, or how I rewire my limiting beliefs may not make sense to you. But I encourage you to begin detaching the label “My” from any medical condition you have. Count how often you catch yourself using the word “My” when conversing this week. Take pause. Does the word that follows “My” identify you, your personality, or your character? If so, go for it. If not, consider revamping the sentence. When I became aware of this, it was shocking.

Peggy Willms
                                                                     All Things Wellness, LLC

The information provided is the opinion of the author. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice: diagnosis or treatment. The author, the business, All Things Wellness, LLC, and its owner Peggy Willms, are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information in this article or website. We assume no responsibility for tangible and intangible damages such as physical harm caused by using a product, loss of profits or loss of data, and defamatory comments. This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases.