Diagnosed with a Chronic Disease or Serious Illness
Now What Do You Do? – Part 2
This is the second in a six-part blog post series to help those who have been diagnosed with chronic disease or a serious illness. In part one I focused on your attitude and perceptions once you have been diagnosed. I shared how your thoughts create your reality as so many spiritual teachers have affirmed. And I gave several examples of those who had very serious illnesses and recovered, sharing important messages with the world upon their return from the brink of death.
All the feelings you have, thoughts you are thinking, actions you are taking, stress you are dealing with, information you are processing, experiences and traumas you have had — and even the genes you have inherited — can coalesce and contribute to your diagnosis. Long before anything ever manifests in the physical, it is forming on the causal, energetic and unseen plane.
Whatever disease or illness you have may be the result of years of sadness, anger, unforgiveness and frustration. You had the power to create this reality of yours. The good news is that you also have the power to think in new ways and to shift the course of not only your disease, but of your whole life.
Did Your Soul Sign Up for This?
A major illness can also be something that your soul signed up for so you could experience this challenge for its growth. Sometimes your greatest wounding is where your greatest service to the world lies. After becoming a quadriplegic, actor Christopher Reeve, who played Superman in the movies, is an example of using his fame and condition to help doctors, researchers and scientists move forward to help those with spinal cord injuries.
Michael J. Fox, a well-known actor from the “Back to the Future” movies, among many others, is also someone who transformed his serious illness into a sacred mission to help himself and others and lead the best possible active life despite his condition.
In 1991 he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 29 and became a positive role model for others with the condition. Continuing his acting career in such roles as attorney Louis Canning on “The Good Wife” and “The Good Fight,” among various other television roles, he also created the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in 2000. To learn more about him and his inspirational story, click here.
Actor Christopher Reeve, co-founder with his wife Dana of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, went from an actor who played Superman in a movie to an activist and superhero in life where he helped so many and gave hope to those with spinal cord injuries. Although he and his wife have both passed, their foundation lives on and continues to be a source of inspiration for those and their families affected by spinal cord injuries. In his greatest wounding and challenge, he found his greatest passion and purpose. Photo from www.YouTube.com.
Actor Michael J. Fox, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991, created his own foundation in 2000 that has raised funding of more than $900 million in research. Photo from www.michaeljfox.org.
Here is a description of his foundation and all it has accomplished and hopes to achieve since Fox founded it:
“As the world’s largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s research, The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson’s disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists, Parkinson’s patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors and volunteers. In addition to funding more than $900 million in research to date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress toward a cure.”
Click here to learn more about this organization. All this progress and hope for those with Parkinson’s disease would not have been possible without Fox’s difficult diagnosis and what I believe is his soul’s request to be this conduit for so much good. His greatest wounding has become his most important mission and life purpose.
It is never an easy path for those who raise their hands on the other side to take on some monumental soul assignments to help others. But it seems that those who have been “qualified” for these difficult soul assignments rise to their challenges and exceed expectations for the hope and good they create for others and future generations.
Illness Demands Your Attention!
Serious illness can be part of your divine destiny for another important reason. It’s there to “GET YOUR ATTENTION” and for you to realize that something has to change. When serious illness shows up, you might have to make important changes in your life.
One of my spiritual teachers often shared the story of how she was in the pharmaceutical industry but didn’t like what she was seeing in her field and in her interactions with doctors. All she was doing — and how and what she was promoting — on behalf of her company was out of alignment with who she really was.
Her soul was not happy and she eventually became sick. Her illness continued to progress until she finally had to quit her job. She did not even know exactly what the cause of her illness was, but it left her very drained. Soon after she left her job, she found herself taking a course with a man who would be her important mentor. Eventually together they would co-teach spiritual workshops and years later she would go on to create new workshops on her own. She would also co-author and write her own books. Her work has affected the lives of people all over the world.
A similar scenario happened to another one of my spiritual mentors who sometimes shared the story about how she used to work in the corporate world. And she, like my other spiritual teacher, was very successful. However, she kept getting increasingly ill until she could no longer go back to work. Her life was in crisis and she felt lost.
She was supposed to shift her life to become completely devoted to sharing her spiritual wisdom. Her illness grabbed her attention and Spirit eventually guided her on a path to create and lead a new worldwide ministry.
It has not been an easy path for her, but her illness receded into the background and eventually completed faded as her mission to serve others and teach her wisdom moved to the forefront. Your body and your subconscious mind can make you finally pay attention and listen to what your heart and soul have known and been feeling for quite some time.
If you have been denying your life’s mission and what you came here to truly do, your suppressed longings and emotions can eventually erupt into some kind of illness. If you do find yourself sick because your soul feels as though it is dying, the result is usually that some mega-shifts will begin to manifest in your life. For some, those shifts come too late. Others never heed the call and leave their lifetimes with dreams largely left unfulfilled.
If you have been denying your life’s mission and what you came here to truly do, your suppressed longings and emotions can eventually erupt into some kind of serious illness. Photo by USGS from www.unsplash.com.
Greatest Challenge Can Become Your Most Important Life Purpose
For others, like author and motivational speaker Dannion Brinkley, who suffered four near-death experiences, serious challenges can catapult your life in a totally new direction. The health challenges some experience can serve to shine a light on important issues in their lives. They can also help transform the lives of others who will be inspired by their shifts, transformations and willingness to share their messages of hope and miracles.
Since his first life-altering near-death experience, Brinkley has spent many years helping patients in hospice facilities. Author of Saved by the Light and two other books, he is also founder of The Twilight Brigade. Volunteers in his organization spend time at the bedsides of those in veterans’ and other hospitals and in hospice centers to comfort and cheer patients and provide companionship, compassion and understanding.
I was fortunate enough to hear Dannion Brinkley speak many years ago following his first near-death experience. He is one of the liveliest, funniest and impassioned speakers I have ever had the privilege to hear in person. My favorite story he told is when he learned, following his initial brush with death, that he would need to have heart surgery. Without it, the doctors said, he might die.
He told the audience that it was as if the doctors told him that he might soon experience the best delights of a Christmas morning filled with his favorite gifts. He didn’t even want the surgery, and was looking forward to his return to the afterlife. But friends, including Dr. Raymond Moody, author of “Life After Life,” convinced him to have it. Brinkley knew he still had so much work to do here and agreed to have the surgery. And that work has helped so many facing illnesses and the dying process.
Dannion Brinkley and his two sons, Shane and Evan, share laughter at the bedside of the late Tuskegee Airman, Lt. Walter Foreman. Helping others understand the life-after-death and dying processes became one of Brinkley’s important missions in this lifetime. Photo from https://www.losangeles.va.gov/LOSANGELES/features/VAGLAHS_Twilight_Brigade_Celebrate_20_Years.asp.
Dignity and Courage in the Face of a Devastating Diagnosis
One of my first spiritual mentors, a man named Sidney Austin, was my T’ai Chi instructor in New Jersey for several years. He was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. I never knew him before his diagnosis. Other students used to tell me that if I thought he was extraordinary when I knew him, I would not believe the power of this man before he became ill. His dharma was to show others what bravery and determination looked like in the face of a serious devastating illness.
One of the stories I love best about him is this one. Following his diagnosis, a neurosurgeon did an exploratory surgery to see if the brain tumor could be removed. Unfortunately, it was inoperable. Shortly after he returned to his room from the surgical recovery room, Austin was up on his feet doing T’ai Chi exercises.
Doctors rushed in and were very concerned when he was moving around and out of his bed so soon after the exploratory surgery. Then when they witnessed the grace and beauty of what he was doing, and saw how quickly he recovered from the surgery and anesthesia, one of them said he was going to look into signing up for T’ai Chi classes.
While a student was visiting him in the hospital, Austin surprised him by pulling the emergency cord in his hospital room. Doctors and nurses arrived swiftly on the scene, alarmed that something serious had happened. After they all assembled, wondering why they had been called, Austin turned to his student and asked him to begin demonstrating T’ai Chi.
Long before his diagnosis, Sidney Austin was inspiring students throughout his life, from those in his drum bugler’s corps to those in his Kung Fu and T’ai Chi classes. I had the blessed opportunity to write an article in the now defunct “T’ai Chi Magazine” about him and his special memorial service that so many of his beloved students and friends attended.
In the article, I explained, “Throughout his life, he was first and foremost a teacher and friend. Time and again speakers at the memorial service related incidents when Mr. Austin had reached out to help them, how he intuitively understood their problems. When they saw darkness, he shed light. When they felt despair, he offered hope.”
He offered that kind of hope to one of the students who attended his memorial service. Randy Loew said he met Austin when he was going through a difficult period in his life. He explained, “To find a human being who cared so much was wonderful. He not only saw the best in you, but he wanted you to see things from his perspective. He made me aware that there is nothing so serious or complex in life as long as you could laugh. He made me aware that there is nothing to fear in the world.”
Perhaps these wise words and teachings can be ones that also help those in the world now dealing with serious illness. Sidney Austin and the way he lived his life even when darkness was closing in was a testament to the possibilities we all have and choices we can make when confronted with illness and challenges.
Master Kung Fu and T’ai Chi instructor, Sidney Austin, is pictured here doing what he what he loved to do best and what he called his “T’ai Chi dance.” He used to ask his classes before beginning T’ai Chi practice, “Shall we dance?” Photo from T’ai Chi Magazine, October 1993, Vol. 17, No. 5.
What Choices Will You Make Following Your Diagnosis?
Randy Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon, in Pittsburgh, PA, was at the top of his game with a great career, devoted wife and three young children. Then in 2006, he was diagnosed with a terminal illness, pancreatic cancer. Following that harsh diagnosis, he had to make a decision about how he would choose to live with this progressive disease. He would go on to live less than two more years, but he made the most of them, affecting and touching the lives of so many with his world-renowned book, The Last Lecture.
In a description under his book on Amazon.com, this is what is shared:
“A lot of professors give talks titled “The Last Lecture.” Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can’t help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?
“When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave –“Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”– wasn’t about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because “time is all you have…and you may find one day that you have less than you think”). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.
“In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come.”
“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.” –Randy Pausch”
In my “Time to Awaken!” five-part blog series, I also emphasize the importance of valuing this precious gift of life and of not taking a single moment for granted. It is why what you do, how you think and what actions steps you take are all so significant following your diagnosis. Illness has shown up in your life for an important reason and has the potential to make such an extraordinary difference not only in your own life, but also in the lives of so many others. You can click on the pictures below to access each of my five “Time to Awaken!” posts.
In my own life, the serious chronic disease of my dog Socrates enabled me to learn so much and to help many other animals and people. His illness set me on a path of looking for alternative treatments and introduced me to the field of classical homeopathy that I still continue to study.
I will be forever grateful to my dog Socrates who led me on a path to alternative healing, integrative medicine and homeopathy, among other healing modalities and ways of working with companion animals. He also taught me to become a health advocate for my pets, friends, clients and for myself. Photo by Donna El Haber, 2000. All rights reserved.
My autoimmune disease has also led me on a path of learning that I have used to help others learn and grow and feel so much better. There practically isn’t a day that goes by without me sharing some piece of medical information or other wisdom that has helped my family, friends, clients, and guardians and their pets. My best hope is that what I have learned and what I am sharing within my posts will also help you have a healthier, brighter tomorrow.
In my first post, I asked you to call upon the Archangel Phanuel, the Angel of Hope. For this post, I encourage you to call upon the Archangel Uzziel, the Angel of Faith. Uzziel can help boost your faith in recovery, resilience, restoration, improved health and well-being. This powerful angel can fill your heart with so much faith and healing. With Uzziel’s help, you can envision miraculous outcomes you never imagined or thought possible.
The angels are always working on your behalf and love when you call upon them to help. There is something so beautiful about holding on to your faith and strengthening it no matter what you see or hear. To access a talk my husband Sharbel and I did on the power of Faith, go here. To deepen your faith, you can listen to a meditation I did calling on Uzziel for strength and support. Click here to listen.
Uzziel’s beautiful message in “Angel Blessings” Oracle Deck of Cards by Rev. Dr. Kimberly Marooney affirms the power and strength of faith:
“Faith is an inner knowing that inspires you to be conscientious, accurate and true. Its powerful energy decreases with inertia and increases through right action. Rather than an external thought, true faith is found deep within your being, guiding your actions and feelings toward the desired outcome. The angels protect us through our faith by distracting or changing the perception of others who would harm us, creating an atmosphere free of worry, anxiety, doubt and fear.
“The acceptance or conviction of a teaching as true is a belief. Before the heart is opened, beliefs are likely to be limiting and binding. Beliefs can hold you captive and create a separation between people. When cherished and nurtured, belief expands into faith, opening the heart to be filled with light. When you are truly one with your faith, nothing in the outer world can disturb you.”
Uzziel, the Archangel of Faith, from Rev. Dr. Kimberly Marooney’s “Angel Blessings” Oracle Deck of Cards.
Pastor Joel Osteen has a beautiful sermon about the power of faith to heal. He tells the story in the Bible of a woman who had been ill for many years with a bleeding disorder. She heard that Jesus would be walking through her town and wanted to be one of the many to touch his robe in the hopes she would be healed.
She got to the site and saw there was a huge crowd. Not knowing how she could reach him, she managed to push her way through, person by person, and got closer to Christ.
“One version,” he explains, “said she kept saying to herself: ‘When I get to Jesus, I know I will be well.’ She was saying ‘I know healing is coming. I know things are turning in my favor. It’s tough now. I’m tired. I’m weak. But I know I’m close to my breakthrough.’ The reason she could keep going is she kept the right thoughts playing in her mind.”
Crawling the last part of the way, she finally was able to reach out and touched the edge of Jesus’ robe. With a crowd of people around him, suddenly Jesus stopped and turned to his disciples. He asked them with amazement who had touched him. They asked him what he meant because there were so many people touching his robe in the hopes of being healed. He explained that even though many people were touching his robe, there was only one person who touched him in a way that had affected him so deeply.
“Someone drew the miracle-working power out of me,” Christ told his disciples. Photo by Donna El Haber, 2011. All rights reserved.
In his moving sermon, Pastor Osteen shares what Christ told his disciples: “Somebody just touched me. Somebody drew the miracle-working power out of me.” He continues, “They believed healing was coming. They believed their child was going to turn around. They believed new doors were going to open. They touched me with expectancy.”
Jesus then looked at the woman who touched him in such a remarkable way. She was frightened and worried that she had offended him. He smiled and said: “Daughter, your faith has made you whole. Go in peace. You are healed.” To hear Pastor Osteen’s full sermon, click here or on the image below.
Coming Up Next in This Series
Coming up in my next post of this six-part series, I will write about the importance of changing your way of thinking about yourself and your illness. Discussing the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza who encourages us all to “break the habit” of being ourselves, I will share an experience I had at one of his week-long retreats.
I will also focus on the importance of “The Law of Attraction” and how it works in our lives. The wisdom of the collective consciousness of Abraham channeled by Esther Hicks will also be part of the conversation on “The Law of Attraction.” And finally, I will share some specific tips on what to do to navigate forward after your diagnosis.
Until then, I wish for you to be in your joy whenever possible and never give up hope. I also encourage you to strengthen your faith and call upon the Archangel Uzziel to help you believe that with faith all things are possible, including improved medical reports and remissions.
With love, healing and so many miracles,
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