March 1


3 Important Steps To Feeling Powerful When Diagnosed with an Incurable Disease

By Sue Ingebretson

March 1, 2011

course changer, diagnosis, Hillary Rubin, MS, multiple sclerosis, wellness

Today I’m honored to present a wonderful guest post from friend, Hillary Rubin. Please visit her site and give her a warm welcome to RebuildingWellness!


It has been 15 years since I was hit by my “mack truck” wake-up call named – Multiple Sclerosis. I thought I was on top of the world back in 1996. My life was “perfect” in so many ways – I had the perfect guy, place in NYC and a plum job at Prada. I defined myself by my work and things. You know the type, the person who lives for the title and is disconnected from the truth.

I was one of them, hiding an abusive past with material things and thought I could keep on pushing through life. But in an instant, all the designer labels were traded in for feelings of failure. Any time I felt something in my body or emotionally, it went into this new category of being because “I had MS.”
I was stuck in such a dark place and it felt horrible with no one to turn to. What hurt the most was when my family would ask me how “my MS” was and after a while I disappeared and the illness took over my life. Can you relate?

Today, I’m living proof that you can live symptom AND medication free and live a healthy lifestyle filled with happiness and beauty.

Here are the 3 simple and profound steps that made a huge difference in my life and have helped me become a champion instead of a victim.

Step 1: Change your language around the “diagnosis.” STOP saying you “have” it and say you were “diagnosed” with it.

I invite you to change this around and when you hear yourself say – “I have ___________.” Instead, stop yourself and say, “I was diagnosed with ____________.” Try this now and feel the changes in your body. Say out loud “I have _______________.”

Close your eyes, say it two more times and feel in your body where it lands. It may be your throat, chest or belly. Do you feel expanded or contracted?

Now say out loud, “I was diagnosed with _________________.” Close your eyes again and say it two more times out loud. Where do you feel it in your body? You may not feel it at all. Do you feel expanded or contracted? When I did this exercise at the MS Society in LA, no one felt it as they said, “I am diagnosed with” rather than “I have.” In the 2nd exercise, the words felt like stated fact rather than as a feeling or emotion.

Step 2: See your diagnosis as an opportunity to grow, as a teacher, a gift and a blessing.

This may not be easy at first but it is the #1 way in which I transformed my diagnosis from taking over my life to being symptom and medication free. I can honestly say the diagnosis of MS gave me the most amazing gift to grow. It was what I call a “course changer.” I learned to pay attention to my body and began to change my life over time to become healthier and happier.

I can now see that through taking care of myself, I only see my life as a blessing and the MS as a way to get there.

Step back and see the diagnosis (notice the language I’m using here). What have you learned from it? How is it a teacher? How is it a gift? How is it a blessing?

Step 3: Remember everyone (really, every human being) has bad days, with or without the diagnosis of a chronic disease.

At first you may feel that you alone have bad days because of your symptoms and from the “what can happen” messages fed to you by your doctors. When I felt icky, I blamed it on my disease and I would feel like crap. Then, when I listened to people who did not “have” a disease, I realized they had good and bad days too.

Everyone has something they are dealing with. There are no humans who do not have to maintain their bodies. When you understand this and see that there is NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU, then you can begin to feel more “normal.” Always get enough sleep, drink plenty of water and exercise. When you feel a bit off, take that as an invitation to rest and reset.

Love to hear how you enjoyed this post. Please leave a comment and if you want to get a free gift from me to see what the 8 Big Health Mistakes You Can Correct Right Now are to up your energy and boost your well-being for life go to Hillary’s FREE gift.

Lots of healing love,


Hillary Rubin, wellness + self-esteem coach, is dedicated in her life to help women transform past abuse, incurable diseases and health challenges into opportunities for greater healing and happiness. She is dedicated to help women become the next best version of themselves. You may of seen her featured in Yoga Journal, Fit Yoga, LA Times, LA Yoga, Yoga International, + Fit TV. Drop her a line and let her know your story at Hillary Rubin.

  1. These tips really hit at the core of the psychological aspects of illness that are so overlooked in our current healthcare system. The very act of giving it a label and personalizing that label is like chaining yourself in to a life of chronic disease. Your identity becomes focused around the disease instead of being empowered. I have had practice members tell me that Diabetes was the best thing that could have ever happened to them, because now they eat and live healthier than ever before. Great stuff!

  2. Great post. That is really good advise and a wonderful standard to live by.
    Thanks, Sue, for sharing with us.

    1. Thanks Bev glad you can see it is a new standard of living. Love to have you on board to shift the consciousness.Love to see you over at my site feel you would really enjoy my posts and videos… 🙂 Hillary

  3. Powerful, simple truths that really work! Cross-posting – thanks for sharing, Hillary and Sue.

  4. Hi Hilary,

    Wonderful post! As a nurse who has worked with the elderly for the last 17 years, I am a nurse that is all for treating things naturally, if at all possible… I see too many people who are inundated with medication after medication and it’s terrible to then see that they need another medication for the side effects of the first one! WOW! No thanks.

    I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in ’99 (my dx is nothing compared to yours of MS…) but not many people know I even have it. I just don’t go around telling everyone. I just don’t want the Dx to become a crutch or worse, an excuse. I exercise and pay dearly for it, but I still talk about the exercise and how I did it! YAY ME! Not so much about the pain or the condition 😉

    I have a few friends that have Fibro and other chronic conditions and honestly, you can see the difference between those who talk about it all the time and those who don’t. Those who don’t, function much better than those who do.

    I’m not preaching denial by any means and pain is pain, but if you let it, any chronic diagnosis can envelope more than a few aspects of one’s life, but engross their whole existence if they let it. It’s important to hear what we are saying to ourselves and change the words… the mind is very powerful and words mean something!

    Thanks Hilary, I wish you a year of good health and prosperity.

    Carpe Diem,

  5. I hear you! I am symptom and med free and NEVER say I have it or it is my diagnosis. Also, when talking about others I suggest you try saying they were diagnosed with it. POWERFUL stuff and it really makes a difference.

    Love to see you over at my site and there is a free gift that I feel you would benefit as well as your circle. Thanks for the kind words — you are so much more than any label love.

    Best to you.


  6. hi hillary ,

    Its my privilege to go through yr letter, though through accidental browsing. I am ramakrishna, male 52 yrs, with all responsibilities expected at that age, and was a quite successful vet till two years back when I developed full blown hypotonic urinary bladder due to problems related to spine and bladder outlet which were unfortunately symptomless and if any, i neglected them as to be normal .This was a terrible blunder. I should evacuate the bladder using clean catheters, a procedure called Intermittent clean self cathing 5 times a day.This condition has no treatment and the procedure is a lifelong one
    This was a harsh reality with which i should cope along with all attendant complications . i used to tour a lot treating animals, visiting farms , training junior vets , publishing papers and all those stuff. I lost interest in physical exercise and once i was a fitness freak.Similarly in music and painting. Suddenly i lost that streak and spark in life and due to lack of adequate rest room facilities around ( i live in India)and fearing infections in highly unhygenic contaminated surroundings i drastically cut down my touring and opted for desk jobs which in turn sagging me out.. This ailment always demotivates me, always reminding me that i am no more an ordinary person .Depression followed and i am in search of similar patients to interact but failed to find one as in my settings patients tends to be quite secretive & doctors are insensitive.
    This may sound quite routine stuff expected from any chronic patient who is depressed and in search of some consoling that could once again pep up his /her spirits. having confessed this i request yu to provide some practical tips to pull on with this life near normally


    1. Ramakrishna – thanks for your kind comment! This post was written by my friend, Hillary Rubin and I’m sure her blog – as well as mine – contains many posts that can provide emotional support for your physical concerns.

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