Being diagnosed with a chronic disease, particularly one that has no known cure is a shock to most people. Very few are not affected by the news that they or a loved one will face a life of treatments, medications and possibly even an early death. For many people, the fear associated with a debilitating illness and the anticipated reduction in the quality of life can be as distressing as the diagnosis itself. You may be experiencing these emotions right now. Perhaps you feel like your life and what is happening has left you vulnerable, dependent on medical assistance and out of control of your life.
However, once the immediate shock of diagnosis has worn off, it’s possible to regain a sense of ownership of your body and the decisions that need to be made to keep you healthy and your life as normal as possible. Your doctor will work closely with you to help this process and other health professionals involved in your care will help you create goals that will assist you in making informed choices about your diagnosis, its treatment and your life after diagnosis.
Depending on the illness you have been diagnosed with, there is a good chance you can live a normal healthy life, with only minor changes necessary. Newly diagnosed diabetics for example may have to make some minor adjustments to their diet choices, become more active and learn to organise their lives around monitoring their blood sugar levels.
Regaining control of your life after being diagnosed with this type of illness is not difficult and most people soon settle into a modified lifestyle, which has little impact on their current lifestyle. However, if your diagnosis is something more serious and involves an illness that will become increasingly incapacitating you will need to look at creating short-term goals to maintain control of each stage of your illness as it progresses.
Steps to Regaining Control of Your Life
1. Be knowledgeable about your diagnosis and what you can realistically expect to be the progression of the disease. Talk to your health professionals and join any available associations formed to support people and their families with the disease. Knowledge whilst it’s scary is the best way to feel in control and to make informed choices when discussing options for treatment with your doctor.
2. If household modifications will become necessary in the future, start to prepare for them now. If you will require residential or visiting medical care in the future, begin looking for your options early whilst you are able to make informed decisions. This will give you the chance to know what you want and to ensure family and friends know your wishes.
3. It can be overwhelming to think too far in the future, so balance the necessary long term plans with achievable short term plans that provide you with things to look forward to and to see achieved.
Having a sense of control of your life and the things that happen to you after being diagnosed with chronic illness is essential to maintaining your self-esteem and its importance of this stage cannot be overstressed.
Laura writes for 2healthinsurance.net, a website that helps people all over the US to find affordable family health insurance.