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The Power of Peace: How to Deal with a Diagnosis

The Power of Peace: How to Deal with a Diagnosis

The following article was written by Heinen’s Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek RD, LD.

No matter who you are or how you live, the journey of life is always going to have challenges. Some will be minor; others will be major. Some will affect us mentally; some will affect us physically and others will affect us entirely.

Even as a Registered Dietitian who prioritizes eating well and maintaining a balanced lifestyle, I am not immune to health challenges. In fact, I faced a cancer diagnosis in 2022. That instance alone completely changed my outlook on how I face challenges related to health and I would like to share that with you.

Upon my diagnosis, I passed through more emotions than I ever thought possible in a short period: denial, anger, fear, and finally…peace. Yes, peace.

I can’t quite explain how that emotion surfaced so quickly within me after receiving life-altering news, but all I can say is that I slipped into a state of quiet acceptance, which manifested itself as inner peace.

Let’s talk about peace’s role in how to deal with a diagnosis.

First of all, is it a choice? I think so.

It’s built right there in the definition. According to Merriam-Webster, peace is defined as “freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.”

Give Peace a Chance*

You’re probably wondering how you can get a taste of this peace when you’re questioning how to deal with a diagnosis. Should you sit back and wait for life to iron itself out? No. You should invite peace in, right there in the middle of the messy, emotional thunderstorm.

One thing I know from experience is that it’s impossible to make healthy, empowered choices when you’re stuck in a fear-ridden, disempowered state. Spending too much time in anger, worry, fear, and any other negative emotion will only pull you deeper into despair. It feels like you’re swimming upstream in thick, murky water with weights strapped to your ankles and your head barely above the surface. You’re just trying to survive!

I’m not suggesting you ignore your feelings, because they are real and valid! Rather, I urge you to muster up the courage to lift the veil of fear for just a moment and peek behind it to see what’s really there: just a diagnosis; just a word.

A word cannot harm you… unless you give it meaning.

*Processing the emotions of a diagnosis can be painful and you shouldn’t try to do it alone. Seek emotional support from a trusted friend, family member, or if necessary, a licensed professional

Peaceful sunrise over a flower field, with the sun peaking through the trees

Taking a Diagnosis For What It Is

Diabetes. Heart disease. They are all words that tend to carry thoughts of physical pain and suffering, stirring up an immediate flood of negative emotions. But behind the self-assigned meaning is a little bit of peace waiting patiently for you.

Take a health diagnosis like diabetes as an example. Instead of diving into the muddy waters of fear, see it for what it really is: a condition that occurs when blood sugar is too high.

Can you feel the difference?

With this change in perspective, you make space for feelings of empowerment. A transfer of power occurs from the disease to you, and now you are better equipped to formulate a plan to face it head-on with confidence and hope. You go from being a victim to a victor.

Using Food as Medicine

When it comes to any diagnoses, we recommend consulting your trusted medical professionals for guidance on treatment and lifestyle changes. However, we also believe that eating well can naturally support a treatment plan. 

Our Wellness Departments are staffed with passionate, highly trained Wellness Consultants who are trained by our Chief Medical Officer Dr. Todd Pesek, M.D. They believe in the motto “Food as Medicine.” If you’re looking to make a change in your diet to further support your journey, they’re ready to help.

Image of a Wellness Consultant at Heinen's, a professional who is trained to help you figure out how to deal with your diagnosis

Key Takeaway

Negative and positive emotions cannot coexist; you must choose. Even when you’re in a good-feeling place, fear and other debilitating thoughts will still be hanging around in the shadows, waiting for a chance to creep inside. Stand guard and give peace a chance.

I’m also happy to report that my cancer diagnosis had a positive ending, and I am feeling better than ever. The experience taught me that choosing a peaceful mindset when facing health challenges paves the way to positive, empowered choices.

Melanie Jatsek RD, LD

By Melanie Jatsek RD, LD

Heinen's Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek, RD, LD believes that the answer to a strong, healthy and vibrant body lies within. As a published author with over 20 years of experience in wellness program development, health coaching and professional speaking, Melanie offers expert guidance through Heinen's Club Fx program to help customers take inspired action to build the healthy body they were meant to live in without giving up their favorite foods.

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