Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What to do After a Chronic Illness Diagnosis - some tips to staying afloat

So, you're sitting in your doctor's office after weeks, maybe months of not feeling great and you're told you have lupus, or kidney disease, or diabetes, fibroneuralgia or any number of other conditions and you sit stunned and speechless. Your doctor might ask, if you are lucky, do you have any questions?  But, you draw a blank and sit staring at the ID bag on his or her white coat.  You happen to catch a few words such as specialist, bloodwork, medication, tests when a rush of cold air fills the room and you come to for a brief moment. You see the white coat stand and then turn and leave the room. As you slowly come out of the mental fog, questions and concerns pop into your head,  Can I still work? Will I recover? What about my sex life? Will I need surgery? But your doctor has gone onto the next patient. You get dressed, walk the hall to the check-out desk, pay your co-pay, if you have insurance, make a follow-up appointment and then the receptionist hands you the number for a specialist, and you leave not sure what just happened.
Here's what you do next:

Tip 1: Find the nearest deli and order your favorite piece of pie!
Tip 2: Don't panic even though you find it difficult not to. Breathe and stay focused.
Tip 3: Call a friend
Tip 4: Call your doctor's office and make a follow-up appointment to discuss what all this means and ask any questions you didn't get to ask during the initial visit.
Tip 5: Find a support group or organization that has information about the illness
Tip 6: Remember, you are most likely going to experience a new kind of normal
Tip 7: You are not your illness
Tip 8: You can still have a life even if it has limitations
Tip 9: CALL ME! 310-922-3957

Depending on the diagnosis you receive, you might need to see specialists, undergo more testing, hospitalizations, change in diet, mood swings, sleep changes, etc. Knowledge is important so is attitude. Watch what messages you feed your brain. If you have a tendency to be a pessimist, chances are you will remain one, but practice seeing the glass as half full; it will save you!

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