How to Navigate a Difficult Diagnosis – Health


What could be more difficult to hear from your doctor than that you have a serious medical condition? Not only is it a mind-blowing diagnosis, but hearing about a serious medical condition transforms the way you view your future.

Will you be able to keep your job? Do you see your children or grandchildren getting married? How will you spend your savings trying to stay in shape for as long as possible?

It is understandable to experience a litany of emotions ranging from fear to sadness when faced with a health problem. But how Laura Howe-Martin, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, explains, “All that worry won’t make it worse. So it’s okay to feel a bit overwhelmed at first. “

However, you don’t want to give in to all the negative thoughts that swirl in your head forever.

How to navigate a difficult diagnosis

How can you get a sense of control and balance after hearing bad news from your healthcare provider? Try some of the following methods to feel more empowered and less burdened.

1. Obtain medical information from reliable sources.

What is your first step after being told you have cardiovascular disease or hepatitis C? Jump to Google, of course.

Here’s the problem with that decision: You may not be getting the correct information that you seek and deserve. If you’re in the middle of treatment, find a patient portal to stay informed about your care and connect with support.

For example, if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, consider investing in a solution like Navigating Care have open access to documented research and knowledge about oncology, as well as up-to-date information about your health records.

Above all, keep your generalized search to a minimum. You will only get confusing answers to complex questions that are best answered by experts, not amateurs.

2. Acknowledge (but do not reward) catastrophic thinking.

Many people immediately imagine the worst when they hear that they are very ill. Call it human nature, I call it “horrible.”

However, catastrophizing can get in the way of being able to think clearly and realistically.

If all you can imagine is defeat, remember that you have not reached that point, far from it. You may never get to that point. The most important thing to focus on is what you can do right away.

For example, your doctor may have recommended eating more nutritious meals or quitting smoking. Following those recommendations could help you regain control, reject catastrophic thoughts, and prevent you from panicking.

Still having trouble not letting your mind “go there”? PsychCentral addressed the topic in one of its many peer-reviewed articles. The article suggested journaling, meditation, and exercise as effective ways to reduce the tendency to stop in worst case scenarios.

3. Build a solid “Go ahead!” team.

Cheerleaders aren’t just beneficial for sports teams. They are also advantageous for people like you who have been diagnosed with life-changing illnesses. In other words, now is the perfect time to surround yourself with all the people who will cheer you on and keep you smiling no matter what.

Who belongs to your cheerleading section? Each and everyone who has touched your life in a wonderfully memorable way. Don’t be afraid to ask neighbors, co-workers, distant relatives, or even Facebook friends to be supportive partners. Some may share that they have also been through a similar diagnostic experience.

At the same time that you build your support system, you may need to free some toxic people from your inner circle.

Being around people who only see the negative will please your darker side. No, you may not be able to remove all pessimistic people from your life. However, do your best to limit your roles in the future.

4. Anticipate physical and mental changes.

A big challenge in hearing that you are unwell is understanding how managing or treating your condition can affect you physically.

Take diabetes for example According to Health LineMany people with diabetes have trouble maintaining weight and develop foot problems.

Does this mean that you will also have weight fluctuations or foot problems? Maybe or maybe not. But knowing what to expect will potentially keep you from being surprised. Also, you can keep an eye out for unusual or anticipated changes so that you can alert your doctor immediately.

Depending on your diagnosis and treatment, you may also be at risk for mental or mood disturbances. But again, the more you know, the easier it will be for you to recognize the changes as normal rather than something else to stress over.

Life has a way of throwing curveballs from time to time. And sometimes those curves come in the form of disappointing medical diagnoses. Never forget that you have the last word when it comes to deciding how you are going to navigate your life.

Image Credit: Provided by the author; Thanks!

Deanna ritchie

Deanna ritchie

Editor-in-chief at ReadWrite

Deanna is the managing editor of ReadWrite. Previously, she worked as the editor-in-chief of Startup Grind and has over 20 years of content management and development experience.


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