Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Why is Pluto No Longer a Planet?

I don’t know about you but I was surprised when they announced that Pluto would no longer be one of the planets in our solar system.  I kept wondering how could they just decommission a planet from being a planet?  What did Pluto do wrong that it was kicked out of the planet fraternity/sorority?  What would it take for Pluto to be re-instated as part of the planetary party?  These questions are too different from the questions you may have asked yourself following your diagnosis.

It’s a surprise when your doctor informs you that you have been kicked out of the healthy person’s club.  You were just minding your own business, like Pluto, and the doctor tells you that you’ve been decommissioned from the realm of the healthy; I don’t know about you but I certainly asked “why?”  Asking “why?” is different from asking “why me?”  One if looking for cause, as in what did I do or not do that this change in my health status emerged.  “Why me?” is about being a victim and wondering why you were singled out from everyone else in the world.  The truth is that you weren’t singled out because the number of people diagnosed with a chronic or life-threatening illness is huge, so you’re part of a different fraternity/sorority.

Since the question “why” is natural why do we fight it?  It’s not about asking, “would things have been different if I at my vegetables?”  It’s more about understanding how the body could change in a way that illness emerges.  In case you didn’t know we all carry cancer cells in our body at any given time.  It’s dependent on our immune system as to whether or not they take hold and are given the opportunity to grow.  Genetics is seen as a bigger factor in many illnesses and knowing that isn’t about blaming all the generations that came before you, but giving you more insight into your family health lineage.

Just like Pluto, you didn’t do anything to warrant this change in status.  We all get used to the order of the Universe, both literally and figuratively, regarding expectations of our health and what constitutes a planet.  Changing Pluto’s status was a shock and one that most of us non-scientists understand, but it’s now the new universe order.  The same is true with your health, your health status has changed and the new goal is to find a way to be re-instated to the fraternity/sorority of health and healing.


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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