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

You Are A Character

Many of my family and friends read fiction (I’m a non-fiction guy).   They read fantasy, science fiction, and mysteries and they get especially excited when an author writes a series.  You hear people who enjoy a series referring to revisiting with their friends.  Some of these authors are writing five, six, or  more books, a thousand pages a piece so after six-thousand pages I guess you’d know the characters pretty well.  There’s a lot of thought that goes into creating a series because as Stephen Covey states in, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, you should begin with the end in mind.

Obviously your life isn’t fiction.  It’s clear that even if you were living a “fantasy” life things change when the doctor gave you your diagnosis although you may have lived in the land of make-believe not wanting to admit the truth.  You don’t plan your life the way an author plans out a series, but what if your life were a series?

From the time of your diagnosis you have the opportunity to re-write your future.  You are obviously going to have challenges along the way, but if you think like an author, how would you get yourself out of a predicament?  What would you do so that in the end there was resolution.  I want to be clear that I purposely did not write “a happy ending” because not everyone will survive an illness.  I’ve also been quite clear over the past few weeks that there’s a difference between feeling better and getting well.

What do you want your story to look like?  What changes will you have to make as you tell your story?  What new people will come into your life as a result of your diagnosis?  I remember the movie with William Hurt called, The Doctor , where he plays a doctor who gets diagnosed with cancer.  He meets a woman who is going through treatment and she shows him a world he’d never seen before full of beauty, laughter, and awe.  What impact will these characters/people you meet along the way have on your health and healing practices?  What would you like to learn so that you seek someone like Yoda in the Star Wars films?

We have tremendous opportunities to rewrite our story.  Even if you don’t feel as if you could write the Great American Novel, you can write the best story about your life and have others read it by watching how you life your life.  Okay, so maybe it’s not a book, perhaps it’s a sitcom or a drama that continues from season-to-season. 

It’s your life, your story, and you get to be the author.  How will you end up on the best seller list?


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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