Something entirely different occurs when one is diagnosed with a disease without having any symptoms or inkling that something is wrong. In this case, rather than confirming a suspicion that was aroused by how you feel, it is like a rug was pulled out from under you.
If a diagnosis or condition happens like this in your life, please find a way to step back for some time and make certain it is true with a second and third opinion. Don’t immediately undergo irreversible treatment unless your condition is immediately life threatening. Remind yourself that only yesterday you were living without this burden. A few days or weeks to verify the diagnosis, absorb the information, discover options and choices and surround yourself with as much love as possible will strengthen you and allow your eventual plan to be more effective.
A diagnosis of disease causes a time of upheaval that corresponds in intensity to a relationship ending, an accident causing death or disability, the surprise ending of a job, and losing one’s home from a disaster. In picturing these difficult scenarios, it is apparent that there must be a period of time to absorb the shock and process the new information.
A woman I know was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer after results came in from a routine exam. She was in her forties, married and the mother of two young children and quite shocked. She traveled to Mexico to take part in a natural healing protocol for cancer and after several weeks was informed that her diagnosis was an error. Her medical records had been mixed up with someone else’s records.
My husband, Andy, was diagnosed with prostate cancer after a routine exam. We were in shock as we listened to a doctor suggest we consider prostate removal and live with all the consequences of that surgery. We were fortunate that his brother weighed in during our time of absorbing it all and shared his own experience. For Andy, there turned out to be many less invasive and life altering possibilities for treatment and over time we learned that his cancer was extremely slow moving. For ten years now he has continued life with prostate cancer with only taking some medication as his response.
How has a diagnosis, either as a total surprise or as a confirmation of something you felt, rocked your life? What strategies have you found that work for you?