Coping with Diagnosis

Regardless of whether you have been ill for some time or feel well, the diagnosis of a terminal illness is initially devastating. There is a huge and instant emotional, physical, spiritual and financial impact on your life and the lives of those around you. How can you begin to cope with the initial diagnosis?

  • Accept that you are in shock and emotionally fragile. Don’t try to disguise how you feel. If you look at the reactions chart you will see just some of the normal emotions you are likely to experience.
  • Accept feelings as they happen. Talk about how you feel and encourage others to do so.
  • If you are finding it difficult to talk to friends and family seek the help of others from GP’s to specialist counsellors.
  • Information can really help. Although it can be frightening most people prefer the knowledge of what they are facing, what to expect and what is likely to happen rather than fear of the unknown.
  • Draw on the strength of people around you.
  • Try not to worry about what you will not achieve, focus on what you have achieved in life so far.
  • Sort out the practicalities. As mundane and insignificant as they may seem, focussing on the day to day things such as sorting out bank accounts and showing your family where you keep important papers can actually help.

You now know there is no cure for your illness or disease and there is uncertainty regarding how long you have to live and how well you will feel. As you move forward from your diagnosis try not to give up all your plans, but be realistic.

You can find links to further information and support groups here.