How It Honestly Feels to Receive Yet Another Diagnosis

I have relapsing polychondritis, an autoimmune disease that destroys the cartilage in my body. The rule with autoimmune diseases, like the rule when seeing deer along the side of the road, is: “When there’s one, look out for more.”

I was recently blindsided by a new, third diagnosis. I try to be a grown-up and take things as they come. “No big deal!” I tell myself.

The reality is that it’s a bigger deal than I first acknowledged to myself. I’m sad. I’m angry. I don’t want another diagnosis. I don’t want more pain, more drugs, more side effects. I wish I had a choice. I get tired of smiling. I get tired of being the one to make others feel better about my health. I get tired of apologizing to my husband who is amazing and doesn’t deserve to deal with all of this. In short, I get tired.

I’ve been in this mental space a time or two before and have a name for it: grief. I’m mourning the loss of who I was yesterday, the loss of the already limited future I thought I had. I have already accepted my limitations and the side effects of the medications I already take, but I’ve lost that too.

I will make whatever decisions are necessary to manage my pain and deal with medication side effects. I will learn to accept this, and that acceptance will come soon.

Until then though, I’m being nice to myself and giving myself the time and space I need to get there.

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Thinkstock photo via a-wrangler.

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