Coping with a Scary Diagnosis

diagnosis1.Give yourself time to adjust: take time to talk it through with a partner, a close friend or someone from church.

2. Get a second opinion and make sure that you’ve got a GP or consultant that you feel comfortable with.  If you don’t, ask if you can see someone else.

3. Do some research: but from reputable books or websites. Do Not Google. This is not the time for random message boards or (scary) misinformation. If you’re trying different things, be persistent and follow the advice of your GP/healthcare provider.

4. Remember that other people have come through the same thing.

5. Contact others who have had similar experiences: your GP or hospital may be able to suggest support groups and there are is often help available online.  However, especially with the internet, be careful what you sign up for and read.  Some forums are more supportive than others; and you want to be encouraged as well as comforted.

6.Go easy on yourself.  You’ve had a shock and you need space and time to let it sink in.  Allow yourself to feel whatever you’re feeling and expect to feel overwhelmed at first. Remember that whatever you are feeling, God can take it. Don’t feel you have to censure yourself or your prayers: but go to Him with your fears. If counselling would help, then ask your GP for a referral or go to the BACP.

7. Keep up some routine if that helps; but don’t feel that life has to go as normal – especially if you don’t have the energy to do it.

8. Ask for what you need and be specific: even just for simple things, like getting the groceries or cooking a few meals. Or, if you need some space, then it’s fine to say so. But don’t isolate yourself: good friends can make all the difference between a terrible day and one that’s ok. Point them to resources or books that help them understand more or talk to them about it if you feel able to.

9. Remind yourself of the things that you enjoy and are able to do.  If you are bed bound or immobile, invest in some good music or box sets and think creatively about what else is possible.

10.  Set yourself small goals and celebrate them.  Or set bigger goals but break them into chunks. It may be keeping down a meal, phoning a friend or sitting in the garden.  But whatever it is, mark it and remind yourself of it on days when times are hard. Success may be as simple as looking after yourself.

11. Remember who you are in Christ: loved, precious, useful, sheltered, strengthened by the spirit of God.  You are not your health or your job or your friends or your to-do list. He is with you and He will work even this for good.

12. Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.

13. Manage your medications. Knowing about the drugs you take — why you take them, how best to take them, and what problems to watch out for — is as important as learning about your condition. Talking with your doctor, nurse, or a pharmacist can put drug information into perspective.

14. If you can, try to keep active: physically and mentally. Read or do crosswords or sudoku or listen to podcasts or teach yourself a new skill. Get plenty of rest and eat as balanced and varied a diet as you can.  If that’s tricky, take a supplement or those nutri-drinks to keep your strength up.

15. Work with your body/mind.  Do your most difficult jobs at the time of day you feel best.  Rest when you need to. Build in recovery time if you’re doing something extra-challenging and watch for warning signs if you’re feeling rough.  (Sometimes it helps to tell others too so they can look out for you).

16. Don’t look back and don’t look too far forward. God gives us grace for this day and this moment: so take it as it comes.

God is our refuge and strength, a tested help in times of trouble.  And so we need not fear even if the world blows up and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam; let the mountains tremble!

There is a river of joy flowing through the city of our God—the sacred home of the God above all gods.  God himself is living in that city; therefore it stands unmoved despite the turmoil everywhere. He will not delay his help. The nations rant and rave in anger—but when God speaks, the earth melts in submission and kingdoms totter into ruin.

The Commander of the armies of heaven is here among us. He, the God of Jacob, has come to rescue us.

Come, see the glorious things that our God does, how he brings ruin upon the world and causes wars to end throughout the earth, breaking and burning every weapon.  “Stand silent! Know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation in the world!”

The Commander of the heavenly armies is here among us! He, the God of Jacob, has come to rescue us!

Psalm 46 (TLB)


4 thoughts on “Coping with a Scary Diagnosis

  1. Only thing I would add, as my GP said recently, rather than a blanket ban on the internet make sure you stick to reputable sites. I self diagnosed, albeit a minor ailment in the scheme of things, and the internet was useful. But totally agree to be very wary.

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