You have just been diagnosed, now what?

You may be still reeling from the conversation you just had with your GP or consultant.

Receiving a diagnosis, even if you knew it was coming, is still a shock to the system, so what can you do to cope?

Firstly, take a deep breath. You are still the same person you were this morning before you got the news. Yes, you have a new level of understanding now, but you are still here, still the same “you” as before.

It is hard to concentrate on the information after the news has been received. Maybe someone was with you, maybe your doctor can put it in writing for you. Either way, getting a few points down on paper can be helpful. The full name of your illness, properly spelled. The details of any further treatment you will require. The details of recommended medications, lifestyle changes, dietary considerations. Jot down whatever you remember and ask about the rest until you are satisfied you understand your diagnosis.

Before you are tempted to fall down the rabbit-hole of internet research, ask your healthcare provider for some resources so you can learn more about this disease. The library can have some good information, just check the date of publication on the book as new research is coming out all the time. Ask also for website recommendations and support groups for sufferers of the disease.

If your disease comes under an umbrella term (i.e. Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis come under “Irritable Bowel Disease”, arthritis comes under “autoimmune / inflammatory disease”) this can be another source of research and support for you.

Don’t forget your loved ones. They will be in as much shock as you, they will also need to know the details and how this is going to affect your life. They may benefit from reading the same books as you, or joining a support group, either in real life or online.

Don’t be afraid to tell family, friends and colleagues about your diagnosis if you need to. It will be good for them to be aware you are dealing with an illness and coming to terms with a diagnosis. It will explain if you are distracted or need to miss a trip, or leave an event early. They may confide in you that they are living with a condition too, or that their loved one has the same illness as you. Much comfort can be derived from knowing even one other person in the same boat as you. But please remember that treatment varies greatly from one person to another, so don’t compare your health status to others’.

You may wish to make some dietary or lifestyle changes to support your healing and manage your symptoms. Some medications can have side effects and these can often be managed with simple changes. There are fantastic qualified nutrition and lifestyle coaches who can help you decide how to bring about change in your life without undue stress.

For example the client diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes may have trouble substituting sugar and processed breads in their diet. Learning a new way to cook and prepare food can be very daunting on top of a busy life. Your coach can guide you to healthy options and blood sugar balancing meals. Weaning you off sugar and white bread can be done slowly, and you won’t even miss them!

Here at The Wellness Clinic we are with you every step of the way. Give us a call and we can arrange a programme to suit you, wherever you are on your journey to health.

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