By Kiara Tatum
|Kiara and niece being silly|
I was reading a youth worker journal article, and the topic was identity. I haven’t seen it yet, but the article was referring to the movie, “Fault in Our Stars.” The movie follows the growing friendship of Hazel, who is diagnosed with cancer, who meets Augustus, also diagnosed with cancer, at a support group meeting. Augustus asks Hazel, “So what’s your story?” She proceeds to tell him about when she was diagnose with her cancer. But he interrupts her and says, “No, not your cancer story, but your real story.”
That statement made me think about how I defined myself since diagnosed with PH eight years ago. I was someone before I was sick, and I built friendships, had hobbies, and participated in activities that didn’t revolve around PH. Sometimes we are so focused on our PH diagnosis and that PH journey that we forget that we are much more than that. How I identify myself is important when sharing my story with others. Do I start with I was diagnosed with PH in March 2006 after years of knowing that something was wrong with me. Or do I start with: My name is Kiara, and I like to be silly and have fun. I love to watch the ID Channel, sing songs out of nowhere, laugh and smile a lot. I love the Lord because He loves me and He has brought me through such hard times such as these that I want to show that love to others, so they too will know who the Lord is through my actions which is easier said than done.
So you see I’m more than just a girl diagnosed with PH at the age of 26 who had to leave her job because she wasn’t able to continue to work. I’m more than that, and so are you. You are more than a diagnosis that your doctor gave you, and you are more than this disease that wants to destroy every part of you. We are PHighters, we are survivors, we are warriors, and we are strong. And we should not let ourselves be defined by our disease any more.
I love to listen to music from alternative to country to pop to r&b; I love to laugh and smile; I love to spend time with my family; I’m an aunt, I’m a sister, and I’m a daughter. I sometimes get mad for no other reason than I woke up that way and will probably stay that way for a few hours; don’t take it personal. I’m terrified of spiders, and I love to work with youth. So that’s a little bit about me. So what’s your story? Not your PH story, but your real story?