What IS a health transition? Most of us have experienced it ourselves, or have someone close to us who has gone through it. At some point in our lives it is inevitable that we will go through a change in our health or be diagnosed with an illness or disease.
It can happen in different ways. Perhaps:
- You’re humming along, life is good, when you experience acute pain and are diagnosed with an illness, disease, condition, syndrome.
- You’re humming along, life is good, you go for your annual physical (if you are allowed to have one annually) and one of the routine test results comes back “abnormal”. After further testing you are told that you have a diagnosis of ___________ (fill in the blank).
- You’re humming along when you notice, feel, or sense something is not alright with your body, (finally) go to the doctor who after running various tests, confirms your suspicions that you have an illness, disease, condition.
That moment of hearing a diagnosis or being diagnosed can come as a a relief, comforting, as well as devastating and shocking.
Cold fingers of dread clutch at the heart, breath accelerates, skin prickly, gut constricts, whirls and twirls, this moment etched in memory, in history, in the body’s fibers. Life Before. Life After. Life Then. Life Now. Me Before. Me After. Me Then. Me Now.
The demarcation between the Former you and the Present you comes with a pain that won’t go away, abnormal test results, a diagnosis, a new label.
This is one stage, one part, one moment of a health transition.
Moving through this change in our physical health also means experiencing a psychological, emotional, and spiritual transition. And that can include a transition in self-identity, our relationship to our body, the meaning of health to us among others. They are interconnected and impact each other.
A health transition involves the change in experiencing your health and your body as normal, satisfying, and working for you to something else. Something new. Something you do not understand.
As with all types of transitions, with it comes loss, grief, mourning and a kind of death. Moving through a health transition involves letting go of who we were before the diagnosis and accepting who we are and who we will become with it.
Who will you become with it? Who do you want to become?
Copyrighted 2014 Life Changes Blog Ruth Tamari