The Post-Diagnosis Happiness Manifesto

Just under a week ago, my partner Ken was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. With his diagnosis came a brand new to-do list: tell family and friends. Contact work to talk about options. Make appointments with a specialist. Look into treatment.

For me, the diagnosis also came with a new list of daily tasks. Until Ken's relapse is over, I am by his side to help with the little things that he used to do so easily. My list includes: Tie shoes. Open pill bottles. Help shave. Cut food.

These new tasks are a challenge and an adjustment. But worse than all the items added to our to do lists, are the ones the diagnosis seems to take away. Our travel dreams are on hold. His plans for work are being adjusted. So are my hopes for graduate school. Who knows now where we will live, and what this means for our life together?

For days, I walked around slightly dazed, mourning our sense of normalcy and the future we thought we had.

And then, last night, I got an email. My godmother reached out to me to offer me comfort and guidance. At the bottom of her message, she gave me another list. But this one was different. It was balm for the soul.

“Lean on those who love you.
Ask for help when needed.
Cry when you have to.
Find a way to laugh and use humor…
Eat good food.
Enjoy and relish each other's company.
Say “I love you” more than you used to.
Look for blessings and seek peace.
Pray.  Believe.  Pray.
Make new positive memories.
Look for silver linings.
Be yourself.
Be FEARLESS in the face of challenges.
Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.”

I couldn't read it without crying. It was exactly what I needed. So this morning, I made Ken breakfast and a cup of coffee, sat him down, and together, we made our own list. All the things we will and will not do in this new phase. All the ways we will not let this diagnosis dictate our lives. The Post-Diagnosis Happiness Manifesto.

We will keep smiling.

We will talk openly.

We will laugh more.

We will not make decisions out of fear.

We will love each other, even when it’s hard.

We will still aspire to great things.

We will be kind.

We will not be victims.

We will not let the little thing get us down.

We will create beautiful things.

We will be grateful.

We will enjoy.

We will appreciate.

We will not give up.

Author: Sara Laughed

I'm Sara, a writer, recent grad, and American abroad. I graduated from college in December and promptly moved to the Netherlands, where I live with my boyfriend and our 11 plants. Follow along as I figure out my roaring twenties: I don't quite know what I'm doing, but that's not stopping me from writing about it!

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  • These are beautiful! One of my favorite parts of this blog is that you always find a way to bring out beauty in every situation. Wishing you and your family all the best.

    xo Ximena

  • This was beautiful. I don’t know you personally but from what I have seen on your blog is that you have a beautiful and kind heart. Hold onto that. There will be ups and downs but keep holding onto those things that bring you joy. I love the list that you have and I wish you both the very best.
    xo,
    Rose