November 13, 2017

Beyond The Diagnosis - When You're Facing Tough News

This post has been contributed.

No matter what age you are, hearing that your health is failing is tough news to take. You might not even feel that unwell. Perhaps you were expecting the worst? It doesn’t matter because it will always come as a shock that feels like a punch to the gut. Whatever your diagnosis, it’s the prognosis you need to focus on now. You need to know what you’ve got to do to make things better.

Cry, Scream, Shout
The first thing you need to do is digest the news. That’s not going to happen on the day. It might not even happen that month! But along the journey toward acceptance, you’re going to feel every other emotion that exists. Yes, you should cry. Yes, you should scream. And you should definitely shout and yell about how unfair this is. Bottling it up, ignoring it, or refusing to believe it does your emotional and mental health no good at all. Get it out so you can get on with taking action.


Research
Doctors don’t tend to be great communicators. They’re not good at explaining things, and they don’t have time to detail everything that might happen. Your treatment options will be delivered like a menu. What you want is the full ingredients list including the issues of digestion after you’ve eaten it! Research is key right now. Learn everything you can. And make sure you’re getting the latest information like this cancer study that Poseida Therapeutics detailed in an article. Know what you’re up against and what the options are.

Address How You Got Here
Of course, we all start wondering ‘why me’ at some point in the process. You might be asking yourself what you’ve done wrong. Often, it’s just a case of genetics. But there are certain lifestyle choices you might have made that increased your risks of health problems. Simple things that are hard to avoid like stress can be one of the factors. Maybe you smoked, or perhaps your diet is poor? Fix these issues now and give yourself the best chance of living a healthy life going forward.


Gather Your Network Of Support
We all need people in our lives, especially when we’re feeling frail and frightened. Start to mend those relationships that broke down. Engage with friends and family regularly. Surround yourself with the people you trust the most. You can’t do this on your own, and you shouldn’t even try. But there will be times when you want to be alone. And there will be times when you lash out. Just make sure the people around you can handle it.

Do What You Need To Do

Whatever your prognosis, you will have a list of things you want to do. Some of these things will be actions to take to get well again. Others will be actions to take if you don’t. It’s important you give yourself the freedom to do what you need to do. We’re all different, so we’ll approach bad news in different ways. What gives you strength and courage?

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