I Have This Diagnostic Label – Now What Do I Do?

label diagnosis health diseaseWhat To Do With This Diagnostic Label?

We as westerners just love to label things.

From our weather (tropical storm “what’s-his-name”) to the family pet, everything gets a personalized name that gives us comfort in a frightening world. That label confers a sense of control. If we can name it, we can conquer it.

Disease fits this definition of something scary in life that we’d like to control.

Disease is a natural and normal consequence of our environment, lifestyle choices, and the biology with which we are born. As our bodies endure wear and tear over time, biological functions change and develop into what we label as disease. The body just functions differently than “normal” and the expectation to “cure” disease is a bit high

Our biology does not classify functions as “good” or “bad”. It is actually frustratingly indifferent to any label of quality we care to associate with a set of symptoms.

label diagnosisHow a Label Helps

Modern medicine has a large and complex system by which it can classify and count the incidence of any given disease. This helps with managing outbreaks of disease on larger scales, as well providing the doctor and patient a tested framework of treatment options.

A diagnostic label provides a terrific starting point in treating a condition and tracking the incidence of this diagnosis in society. It is just a tool in an overall treatment plan however.

And How it Doesn’t Help

In recent years, as funds and treatment protocols have become associated with diagnosis and not patients, the push has been on to apply a given diagnosis to as many people as possible. Even to the point of using questionable scientific methods to support a diagnosis.

oxygen diagnosis label pertussisRemember a few years ago the Pertussis (Whooping Cough) “epidemic”?

Following on the heels of the ongoing debate about vaccine safety, suddenly an “outbreak” of this treatable disease started being recorded in the media. The problem was that the criteria for diagnosis (symptoms of a respiratory infection) could be associated with a number of respiratory ailments besides Pertussis. The decision was made and if a person had respiratory infection symptoms, it was classified as Pertussis.

Funny though how this “epidemic” disappeared the next year.

My clinical experience in treating individuals with an outside medical diagnosis is mixed. In some cases, the diagnosis helped direct us to treatments that increased the quality of the person’s life. In many of these instances, the diagnosis was just there. We understood the significance of the diabetes, heart disease, cancer, or whatever had been found. Our focus was on making the most of the strength and vitality the individual still possessed.

In other cases, the diagnosis was a hindrance. The patients chose to not participate in their healing process because the label of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, or other condition gave them the clear sense that their work was now done. They had a label for how they felt and it was up to others to continue to make them better.

We are all ultimately responsible for our selves.

Find a label that clearly describes what and how you feel. My point is that the work on your Health does not stop there. If the label helps you move on, by all means use it. But if a label stops you from carrying on with your life, consider another choice.

Labels are for filing. Labels are for clothing. Labels are not for people.
– Martina Navratilova

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson


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