How To Cope With Terminal Illness ?
If you have just been told by the doctor that you have a terminal illness, your first thought will be how should cope with the illness. It goes without saying that initially you will be in a state of shock, as no one expects to hear such news. However, as the diagnosis sinks in, you will begin to feel calm. And, after a few days, you will experience a whole range of emotions, such as anger, denial, frustration, helplessness, sadness, resentment, relief and acceptance. You can feel all these emotions or just some of them.
Also, it is quite common for a person with terminal illness to feel isolated. This feeling of being alone sets in even though the person could have loving and supporting friends and family.
Usually when a person is told by a doctor that he or she has a terminal illness, it is frightening. Most people cannot digest the information. Hence, it is perfectly alright to bring a family member or close friend to the doctor. This way the person can listen to what the doctor says and remember it. You may not be in a state of mind to remember all the things that the doctor said.
You can even speak to your doctor to check about different options for palliative care for your illness. The care will ensure that you lead a quality life for the remainder of your illness. If you feel that you are unable to cope with the diagnosis, consult your doctor about a local support group. If necessary, also seek counseling.
While you may not want to talk about your terminal illness and death, it is necessary to speak to someone about your fears and concerns. You will feel helpless, and talking to doctor, close friend, counselor or a family member will help put things in perspective. If you are religious, you can even speak to a religious leader of your community.
Your loved ones may not e able to lend the support you are looking for, as they will be coping with their feelings about your terminal illness. Hence, it may help to speak to a professional healthcare personnel or counselor. Joining a support group could put you in touch with people who also have terminal illness like you. Speaking to them and seeing them will make you realize that you are not alone.
Do not try handle all your feelings and emotions at one go. Take baby steps and you will be able to cope better with the situation and emotions. Set small goals for yourself and as you achieve them, you will feel better and more confident. These goals could be visiting a friend or putting photographs of your family members in the album. Even though you spend you time on these goals, spend some time thinking about the future. Make your will and also plan where you want to receive palliative care. End of life decisions are not pleasant, but making them in advance will save your family a lot of trouble when you are no longer around. Though it sounds morbid, but make your wishes clear about your funeral to your loved ones. It is best to put down all these things in a written format. So, find a lawyer who can help you out.
Instead of worrying about dying, spend time enjoying the days, months or years you have left. These memories will help you get through the days when you feel weak and tired. Also, accept help from family and friends when you feel that you can no longer handle things. They can do your shopping, cooking or driving you to the doctor for your appointments.
Terminal illness is not easy to handle, but with a help from friends, family and healthcare professionals, you will learn to cope with your illness.
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Moon View: Coping with Terminal Illness in the Family
NHS: Coping With A Terminal Illness