Last week I wrote about the iceberg and received many wonderful responses. If you missed it, you will find it on my site–it is worth the read. I told you that I would have a client tell their story about how looking beyond the tip of the iceberg helped her. I asked Jan to share her experience and she graciously accepted (I can be irresistible at times). She is one of those people who inspires me, and I am sure she will inspire you.
I Am More than My Labels
Flash back to a Wednesday in May of 2008. I was at work as a Nurse Practitioner, seeing my morning patients at a pediatric clinic. After noticing an unusual discoloration on my leg. I asked the lab tech to check my blood. The next thing I knew, I was being admitted to Emory Hospital with a diagnosis of acute leukemia. The following day, an IV line was put into my chest and my first chemo treatment began. I was told because my immune system would be taken dangerously low, that I would have to make many changes.
They are too numerous to mention but the major change involved living in isolation from germs. No more job, no church, no shopping. I had to deal with a devastating illness that turned my life upside down. The loss of many aspects of my life in so short a time was very hard to endure. The world as I had known it was gone in an instant.
My faith and family sustained me as I wandered through a fog that was now my life. I could hardly comprehend who I was–where I had ended up or where I was going.
My journey since then has had many bumps in the road. It is now almost 7 years later and I am recovering from side effects from a stem cell transplant. It hasn’t been easy. I have learned a lot about myself along the way.
The teaching about the iceberg was a real breakthrough for me. Looking at who I thought I was (the tip of the iceberg) represented to me over 20 losses that I had listed on paper. I had been going through life thinking my identity was gone. But as Ellen told me, looking inside (or below the water level)–I was SO MUCH MORE! Many attributes and qualities that were with me before the diagnosis are still with me today. In fact they aren’t just “with” me. They are growing and thriving.
If you haven’t tried looking at the massive part of the iceberg in yourself, I suggest you do it. Ellen was right–You Are More Than You Imagine.
Jan Mastin CPNP