Your life is instantly turned upside down when you are given a life-changing diagnosis. Suddenly, nothing will seem right with the world. You are likely to have many questions, and your emotions may feel like they are on a roller coaster. Thankfully, there are tons of places to get help, people who are willing to walk by your side and things that you can do. Here are four steps you may want to consider taking immediately.
Get a Second Opinion
While many people fear that they will make their primary care physician angry, a great place to start is to get a second opinion. Your doctor should embrace this move as long as you choose someone in mainstream medicine because they know that mistakes do happen, and they realize that they are not infallible. Avoid, however, seeking an answer from an alternative medicine provider because as nurses associated with ACN SCAM will tell you, these people will promise you a cure just to get your money. According to this organization, over one third of Americans waste their money here. Instead, see if your doctor will set you up an appointment at a teaching hospital in your area.
Strengthen Your Support Network
You probably already have a support network in place of close family and friends. Share with these people what is going on in your life. They will count it a blessing to be able to walk with you as you journey down this road together. There will be tasks that they can do for you allowing you time to adjust to the changes that are occurring around you because of your diagnosis. They can also help you find laughter and joy in life when everything seems to be falling apart. It is up to you to decide who should be on your support team and how much information you want them to know.
Join National Organizations
You will want to learn as much as you can about the diagnosis, and a great place to start is with national organizations like the American Cancer Society, American Kidney Fund, National Multiple Sclerosis Society and others. These organizations are a great resource for written material on your diagnosis, may have outstanding material about living with your condition and are helping to fund ongoing research projects to help cure diseases. If you need durable medical equipment, then these sources can often help with their funding. When you feel like you are on information overload, then stick their stuff in a drawer for reading later. Additionally, many have support systems staffed by people who remember clearly being where you are now.
Decide on Your Treatment or Lack of Treatment
Each person has the right to decide what treatment or lack of treatment is right for them after their medical team has laid out the alternatives in an easy-to-understand format. Some may choose to treat the condition aggressively, others may decide on just a little treatment and still, others will decide on no treatment at all. Regardless, the choice is up to the patient as long as they are informed. Some people may even choose to be like Miss Norma who went on a cross-country RV journey with her daughter-in-law and son after being given a cancer diagnosis at the age of 91 just two days after her husband died. The choice is up to you, but do not be snickered into believing that there are easy answers when not exist.
When life gives you a hard-to-swallow diagnosis, then start by confirming that it is true. Follow that up with good research and building a support system that will stay by your side. The rest of the journey is totally up to you to decide.
By Hannah Whittenly
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