Taking control of a terminal illness

deathHow to live with a terminal diagnosis  >  Being diagnosed with a terminal illness strikes horror into those at the receiving end. The goal is to try and find a way through the overwhelming emotions and practical hassles of coping with a serious illness – to reach a level of acceptance that allows you, or whoever is suffering, to make the most of whatever time is left. It is about living with an illness, rather than dying from an illness – and continuing with the pleasures and responsibilities that give our lives colour and meaning. Access to appropriate information and support, ideally in the local community, is critical in helping patients make wise choices from the mass of possibilities presented at diagnosis.

Sadly, our culture focuses too much on youth and beauty, to the extent that it is becoming harder to discuss openly anything to do with death and dying. It is a no-go area for polite conversation, on a par with religion, politics and sex.  It is true that many journalists and celebrities have shared stories of their terminal illnesses, but it is still hard for most of us to discuss diseases such as cancer.death 1

Much of the challenge of living with a terminal illness is about living with uncertainty and still feeling in control of your future. If you seize control, you and your family can make this a very precious time. Having goals and staying creative are both important parts of life, and these become more important if your future is limited.

And yet, it is sad to note that many patients diagnosed with a terminal illness call Tonic for moral support because their friends and family are keeping their distance. How sad is that! A level of fear creeps into the relationship and this further isolates the patient, who needs friendship and support more than ever before.

Footnote:  For further reading, use these Links to other pages on this Blog >  Fear of Dying ; the dangers of grieving ; the threat of high blood pressure ; how to live to a ripe old age , favourite places to die ; overcoming the trauma of a neonatal death (stillbirth); do you wish you did more when you were young? ; live your dreams using hypnosis to beat kidney cancer ;

12 comments on “Taking control of a terminal illness

  1. Julie Howard (Nottingham) said:

    I could not agree more. Life may be different after a serious diagnosis, but the person is the same. People have described feeling ‘untouchable’ or ‘infected’ once cancer is diagnosed – however, you can’t ‘catch’ cancer. So patients must constantly reassure those around them that they’re the same person as they always were and that company and contact is vital.

  2. Mrs K. Claude said:

    It may be different, but I felt the same after my husband died. Lifelong friends actually crossed the road to avoid me rather than have the embarrassment of acknowledging my grief. How sad for both parties.

  3. Can M said:

    “It is about living with an illness, rather than dying from an illness”
    I like that. Thanks

  4. Name & address of clinic removed by Moderator said:

    Being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness can be a devastating experience, for you and all the people in your life who cherish you. It turns your life upside down and brings with it a tidal wave of emotions that you have to deal with whilst making some very important practical and treatment decisions. It brings you face-to-face with your own mortality. Your whole identity is changed as you enter an unknown world of being a ‘patient’, a walking set of ‘symptoms’ to be ‘treated’.
    I see you recommend http://www.tonicclinic.com but it is also worth checking out other hypnotherapists in your area.

  5. Dr Alison James said:

    Hypnotherpy processes can address needs of dying patients and family members for sleep issues, releasing anxiety, pain management, and dealing with impending separation, loss, and grief.
    For some patients, pain management strategies can provide alternatives to morphine and drugs to allow at least short periods of time for communication between the dying person, spouse and relatives. This can be useful for creating quality family time and saying goodbye.

  6. pat (huddersfield) said:

    people are terrified of death. or, more likely, they’re terrified of dying a lingering painful death from some obscure or not-so-obscure ailment. Even their spiritual beliefs and values seem to offer them little comfort.

    so that leaves many people afraid of living, and scared of dying. what a way to live! where’s the joy in that? that certainly was not the way our higher selves intended us to spend our earthly years in this lifetime.

  7. Dalai Lama (The quote that is - not me!) said:

    “Death is a part of all our lives. Whether we like it or not, it is bound to happen. Instead of avoiding thinking about it, it is better to understand its meaning.”

  8. Jan (Client 44) said:

    Once we can accept that physical death is an inevitable transition, like our birth, we can be released from fear and its limitations and can begin to truly Be Alive.
    In fact, research has shown that people who have had NDEs (Near Death Experiences) go on to live life very differently in the light of that experience. To ‘live in the light of death’. When our life is under threat, we have the opportunity to live as if we have already had an NDE – without the flatlines!

  9. Clara Hancock said:

    What I learned as a palliative nurse is this is a time for friends and family to step in and help. Anything we can do to reduce worry and create an uplifting atmosphere will help make for an easier time for your loved one while dying. I so understand that some will be able to do something and understand and some won’t.
    Even so, anything you can do to help a person at this time, please do. Hold their hand, rub their forehead, sing, pray, or whatever you do in your tradition. But please know that, as the body is going through the shutting down process of death, that person is going through so much.
    Nursing taught me that hearing is the last sense to leave the body. So be careful what you say and do, do respect the body of that person, preserve their dignity.

  10. Edith K-L said:

    A palliative nurse recorded the most common regrets of the dying and put her findings into a book called ‘The Top Five Regrets of The Dying.’ The bottom line is that it is important to remember that whatever stage we are at in life, there is no need for regret. The process of regret is one that provides nothing but suffering for ourselves as we begin to allow the past to dictate how we should feel now. Instead, we can use the past as a reference point to understand what adjustments we would like to make moving forward. The adjustments do not have to come out of pain, sorrow, regret or judgment, but simply a choice to do things in a different way. We are learning all the time, we can quickly slow that learning process down by getting stuck in the idea of regret. When it comes to making changes, be at peace with the past and remember that each moment is a new choice.

  11. Jane Mulligan said:

    Edith – I read this book. These, in orde,r are the most common ‘regrets’ listed in that book …
    1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
    2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
    3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
    4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
    Last but not least is No 5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
    This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

  12. JJ said:

    For some people fear of death or dying becomes an obsessive pattern of thinking that dominates their life. This kind of fear is based upon your instinct to survive and is quite natural in some circumstances, for example if your life is threatened. However, when your day to day living is plagued by thoughts of death it it time to do something about it, and that’s where NLP and hypnotherapy can be so effective.

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