How 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.
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 ;