It doesn’t matter if you’ve been fighting an illness for a while or you have gotten sick rather suddenly, a terminal prognosis is nothing short of life shattering. When faced with such a prognosis you may be left wondering how you are supposed to cope and come to terms while making the best of your time. While nothing can take away the pain, anger, and sadness you are surely feeling, there are things you can do to help you cope.
Consider Palliative Care
If you live in the Chicago area and you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness that gives you six months or less, you may want to consider palliative care in and around Chicago. Palliative care is meant for those in the final stages of illness who require medical services and emotional support. Not only will the staff keep you as comfortable as possible and help you manage your pain, they can also help you through the mental aspect of a terminal prognosis.
Every Feeling You Have is Justified
Once you receive a terminal prognosis you will likely go through a wave of emotions, which will continue. You will have good days, bad days, good hours, and bad hours. It’s important to go easy on yourself and know that every single emotion and feeling you have is justified and okay. There is nothing that is “wrong” about what you are feeling. Those with a terminal diagnosis may feel anger, shock, denial, fear, resentment, frustration, alone, isolation, helplessness, acceptance, sadness, and relief. And again, these can come and go.
As you go through these various feelings it’s best to reach out and ask for emotional help and support. Talking about your feelings is important so you don’t keep them bottled up. This can mean speaking to family members, close friends, your doctor/medical team, your pastor, or a professional therapist or grief counselor.
Be Sure to Look After Your Needs
It’s very important during this time you look after your needs—both mentally and physically. As long as you are still able, many people find it’s best to keep as much normalcy as possible in their life. Visit friends and family, go see a movie, go to that fancy restaurant, get your hair done, spoil yourself with a gorgeous new outfit, do whatever it is that makes you happy.
Some people find it helpful to write out a list of goals they would like to achieve. They can be simple and small if you like or bigger goals. This will help to keep you on track, give you things to look forward to, and keep you motivated.
Be Kind to Yourself
While you can take all of these steps to help you cope, you will still have those moments and days that are just so hard. Try to be kind to yourself during these times. Allow yourself to feel those feelings and then try to move forward. Find things that bring you happiness and joy no matter how big or small they may be, especially in those hard times.
Photo by Les Anderson
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