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The Hero of Your Health Story

February 20, 2017


When my kids were small, I got sucked in the the worldwide Harry Potter craze.  It was fun to read books with them, and it was fun to watch the kids in the movies grow up along with mine. Since I'm a writer and I teach writing, I decided years ago that my students might benefit if I analyzed the books’ dramatic structure. 


One of the main themes I discovered was "Choice Vs. Destiny."  For the uninformed, ”theme" is like a war between two moral values as played out in the actions of the story.  It's Harry's destiny to be a wizard, to go to Hogwarts and to fight "He Who Must Not Be Named."  But it is his choice to be friends with Ron and Hermione, to shun the Dursley's values and to say  the name "Voldemort" out loud. Sometimes Harry makes poor choices, but he learns from them. In the war between Choice and Destiny, in these stories anyway, Choice always wins. 


The day I figured this out, I realized with both a shudder and a surge of excitement that "Choice Vs. Destiny" belonged to me as much as to Harry.  If my life with autoimmune disease became a best-selling book, "Choice Vs. Destiny" would be my theme, too.  


Destiny dealt me a dirty hand from the start. My grandmother had rheumatoid arthritis; my mother clearly had Hashimoto's, though she was diagnosed only with a thyroid disease.  My mother's life post-menopause was sheer hell - with doctors, psychiatrists and even my dad telling her that she was mentally disturbed. But that was the 70's and 80's. She was getting the best help money could buy. In short, she had no "Choice."

Because I look a lot like my mother, my father and brothers treated me like I was going to go the way of her - sometimes they said it out loud.  I was determined not to let that happen to me; and, thank God, I live in a time in which choice is possible. 

I believe autoimmune disease results from Choice and Destiny. It's Destiny that I carry genetic material that results in it. But Choice - unbeknownst to me - triggered and exaggerated it - Choices like alcohol, gluten, sugar, lifestyle. When I chose to eliminate those things, I began to reverse my condition and change my Destiny. So, every health seeker is like Harry fighting Voldemort. We are the heroes of our own story. We may not win all the time, and a larger Destiny may determine we not win in the end - but, there's glory in the fight. 


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