It’s difficult to cope with a new diagnosis, especially if you have a serious health issues already or a list of chronic illnesses to live with. I’ve recently had a new diagnosis of narrow angle glaucoma and it felt like my body was waging war against me.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
Because getting a new diagnosis can cause us to grieve, we may go into a state of denial. That’s when your support system can come into play especially if you need immediate medical treatment. Once this has passed, go along with your feelings which may run the gamut from anger to fear. I played the pity party for a while because I did not want another thing wrong with my body. I was sad and angry. My family and close friends let me cry and yell and stay alone for a while. Then they were sure that I got to my appointments and followed the doctor’s orders to save my eyesight.
Share With Others
There’s no need to tell everyone you know right at first, or even tell anyone at all. Soon, though talking about it with those closest to you can have a big impact on how you deal with your diagnosis. You probably know the people that will say the right things, be there for you and kick your butt when you need it. I told my husband immediately because I didn’t know if I would be able to make the drive home from the doctor’s office without hearing his voice. Then I shared it with just a few people. When I was feeling more confident after learning more about this type of glaucoma, I wrote about it on my blog.
Support groups specifically for the new medical condition may be helpful. You can find them online and sometimes in person. If this is a long term condition, consider joining an organization that your doctor or support group recommends so you can keep up with the latest information.
Get ‘Er Done
Even if you are still depressed, angry or wanting to advance medical science by 100 years, get treated, get tested, take the medicine you need and do what you can to get better or live with the new diagnosis. It’s not going to be fun, but your life is worthwhile.
If you feel too depressed to make a move, call in the ranks of your support group, tell your doctor or see a counselor, psychiatrist or psychologist. Please promise me that you’ll get help.
Don’t Be A Hero
If this new medial condition causes pain, the new medicine is making you feel sicker, you don’t like the treatment center, etc. tell your doctor. Don’t suck it up. You’re going through a lot right now and you have every right to feel as comfortable as possible.
It’s Not Yours
I never take ownership of the chronic illnesses that I have. You won’t hear me say, “My Sjogren’s Disease is making my eyes dry.” Instead, “That damn Sjogren’s Disease is making my eyes feel like crud.” The medical condition doesn’t have me. I can accept it, but not like it. Try your best not to let your medical condition run your life. It will be hard at first when you’re newly diagnosed, but as time goes on it will become a part of your life and not your life.
There’s still some anger, sadness, even depression and anxiety, but I get help when I need it and I fight when I have the energy. If that’s your style, make that your goal. If you have a different way of coping with a new diagnosis, then find it and go for it.