Being diagnosed with a serious illness can be devastating. But learning how to manage life with an illness like cancer can help reduce stress and give you back a sense of control. This article will provide you with advice and support on how to manage life with a serious condition.
Knowledge Is Power
If you have a rare condition, like pleural mesothelioma, then the more knowledge you have, the better. Ask your doctor as many questions as possible, and bring a loved one with you if you need support. Research organizations or groups that can provide support or advice on managing the condition.
Listen To Your Body
Once you’ve got as much knowledge as possible on the condition, listen to your body and how it reacts to specific triggers. You might find that certain foods or activities make you feel overly tired or ease your symptoms. Note down specific trends as they happen and share them with your doctors for greater insight into your symptoms. Making a note of what helps you manage your condition can give you greater control and clarity over your life.
Understand Your Emotions
Coping with a serious diagnosis is difficult. Your emotions might change from minute to minute. You might feel any of the following emotions:
- Frustration – that you are unable to complete certain tasks or have to adjust your life to help manage your condition
- Overwhelmed – it is natural to feel overwhelmed when you are diagnosed with a serious illness.
- Fear and worry – you might feel uncertain about what the future holds for you and how you will cope
- Depressed – you might feel depressed by the reality of your situation
- Grief – for your old life and the activities you may no longer be able to do
- Anger – you might feel incredibly angry about your situation, or it might be an initial response that leads to one of the emotions above.
All of these feelings are valid. If you are finding it difficult to cope with feelings of anxiety or depression, try to talk to a trusted friend or seek the help of a professional. You might want to join a support group to talk to people experiencing the same thing.
Talk To Your Loved Ones
Handling life with a serious illness can take up much of your energy. The stress of managing an illness can leave you with limited bandwidth for socializing. Be honest with your family and friends about your condition and tell them how it makes you feel. Tell them exactly what you need from them and whether you need support in specific areas.
Everyone Is Unique
Remember that there is no perfect formula for managing a serious illness. Some people may want to talk in detail about their condition, while others want a distraction from it. Others might want to be social while others might want to reflect and be quiet. Give yourself time to adjust to your new situation and check in with how you are feeling.