Receiving any life-changing medical diagnosis can leave you feeling overwhelmed, whether you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic condition or cancer.
Typically, your next best step after diagnosis will be to review the results with at least one medical professional: your general practitioner, a specialist, or both. In the meantime, here’s what you can do as you process the news.
Give Yourself Grace
It’s normal to feel a range of emotions after being diagnosed with a serious condition. From fear to sadness and frustration, there’s a complex realm of feelings that may come and go in the days, weeks, and months that follow your diagnosis. There’s no “right” way to process the news, but here are some activities you may find helpful:
- Listening to music
- Venting to a friend
- Taking a walk outside
- Posting positive mantras or affirmations in visible places
- Implementing a relaxation technique such as yoga or meditation
- Focusing on the aspects of your health you can control
You may not feel inclined to share your diagnosis with your entire network of friends and family, and that’s okay. But try to keep the lines of communication open with your immediate family or closest confidants. They may provide support during treatments and appointments, so it can help to clue them in on how you’re feeling.
Some find it helpful to seek support from others with firsthand experience. Searching for online or in-person support groups through resources like Psychology Today may be a good place to start.
Learn About Your Condition
One of the most fear-inducing aspects of a medical diagnosis is the unknown. Arming yourself with research and accurate lab result information may help you feel more prepared to tackle what lies ahead.
When you’re ready, learn more about your condition from reputable sources such as The National Association of Chronic Disease, the American Cancer Society, or other sources your doctors recommend. There you’ll find useful information about common symptoms, treatment options, and lifestyle modifications that may make it easier to cope with your illness.
Develop a Strong Care Team
Having a care team you’re confident in will help you feel more empowered as you navigate treatments. Your general practitioner may provide referrals, but don’t hesitate to do your own research, too. You can seek outpatient testimonials and provider credentials to form the healthcare team that’s best suited for your needs.
Prepare a List of Questions
Even with an abundance of information available online, you’re likely to have plenty of questions for your care team. Keeping a running log of your questions as they may come to you at random times may help. For instance, some people like to use the notes app on their smartphone to gather questions, or a designated folder of paper notes.
While each patient’s circumstances are unique, some of the questions you might want to ask could include:
- What types of follow-up tests are recommended—imaging, blood work, or both? What will the results tell us? When should I have these tests performed, and will I need referrals?
- What will my treatment plan entail? Is there anything I can do now to help control symptoms or the course of my illness?
- Who should I contact when I have questions?
When it comes time to ask questions during your appointment, consider bringing a loved one. Having a second set of eyes and ears can help you keep track of information.
While the diagnostic process can be overwhelming, our team at LifeBrite Laboratories aims to make every patient feel as comfortable as possible when they visit our location, and is dedicated to providing answers. For more information, contact us online or call (678) 433-0607.
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