Have you ever seen a doctor for a checkup and he tells you that you a “serious” condition? It could be heart problem, lung disease or a lump somewhere. Whatever the diagnosis he gives you, how do you process such an information?
The questions that probably pop up in your mind are: “Why me? Why did I have this condition? Why should I be burdened by this disease? What have I done to deserve this?”
Your doctor may say the cause of your problem is hereditary (blame the parents), a viral infection (blame the virus) or oftentimes, there is no cause at all.
What’s the next step?
After a period of asking the whys, you find out that blaming the heavens, other people, including your doctors, will not help. Instead, we should move on to the better question, which is: What do we do next? This is the most proactive and positive thing you can do with your medical condition. Even if it’s a serious illness, even if it’s cancer, you should continue to ask, “What do I do next?”
What’s the next step, the next test, and the next doctor to see? What can we do to treat this condition? If we can’t treat it, what can we do to lessen the symptoms and the risks? Always look forward to the next step.
Maybe we think it’s “serious” when it’s actually a commonplace disease. A lot of people have it. Serious is a relative thing. A lump in the foot that needs an operation looks serious. But when you compare this with people with no legs going on with their lives and working hard, then you get to think twice. Your condition may not be as bad as you — or your doctor — think.
Get a second or third opinion
It often helps to get a second opinion on the matter. Maybe you were not ready to receive the news at the time. Try to seek another opinion to make sure you get the correct diagnosis and the proper treatment.
Laboratory tests can sometimes go wrong. Do another test to be sure. Find a doctor you have faith in and who will support you as you go through the process of healing.
No matter how bad the news is, your doctor (or a kind relative) can explain it in such a way as to make it more tolerable. For example, the doctor can say, “Yes, you have a medical illness. It’s not a mild disease and we just can’t let it go without treating it. But, on the other hand, it’s not very bad and there are many people out there who have more serious ailments than you.”
You can ask your doctor to enumerate the many things you can do to alleviate your condition. Even if there’s no hard scientific evidence, there’s no harm in using common sense and employing a healthy lifestyle. For example, what food should we eat or avoid? What activities are allowed and what should be minimized? What medicines should you take and how much follow-up is needed?
And as a patient, learning about all these things and studying your body’s reaction to these lifestyle changes can be fruitful and empowering. No matter what the disease, there are many things you can still do. Don’t believe anyone who says it’s hopeless. Keep a balanced mind on what medical treatments, even alternative treatments can be of help to you.
God has given us both prayers and doctors. Use both strategies to get well. Do not forget the scientific part of healing.
Focus on what you can still do
Reframe your thinking. Even if your doctor says you can’t do such and such, then just focus on the things you can still do. You can still work even for a shorter time, you can still write, communicate, and enjoy the company of friends. At least, until you get better, adjust to your new situation.
Continue to fill your mind with inspirational books and uplifting articles. Keep positive people around you. Continue to inspire yourself with stories of triumph over challenges, and success after defeat. There are so many beautiful stories on the Internet and YouTube. Never accept defeat. There will always be a right path to take.
Be positive, things will get better
When diagnosed with an illness, it’s normal to feel afraid. Yes, any disease can possibly have complications. Any medicine can potentially have a side effect. But how do we keep things real?
Positive thinker Norman Vincent Peale writes that in his experience, many of the negative things one anticipates do not occur anyway. In his survey, 92 percent of all negative things we fear will not come to pass. And for the eight percent of things that do happen, we will be ready to face these challenges if they come.
Therefore, think positive and try to keep your fears at bay. According to Peale, fear is a very common emotion that nags a lot of people. But there is one emotion stronger than fear. It is faith. “Only faith conquers fear,” says Peale in his many inspirational books.
I know you may have been given by your doctor a shocking diagnosis. I hope it never happens to you. (That is why I believe you should rejoice when you receive a normal laboratory test. Just think what the opposite result would entail.)
There are lessons to be learned from an illness. I have learned this lesson again and again. Your spouse and children will look even more beautiful and lovely. Some of the nurses and doctors will look like angels. Plans are changed and wounds are healed, probably for the better. And you see life in a different and better perspective.
I pray that you continue to stay positive and do well with what could be bothering you. There is light at the end of the tunnel. There is a purpose for each of our lives.
For today, my purpose is to send you a simple prayer. I hope that you and your family stay happy and reasonably healthy whatever age you may be. Keep on learning. Keep on living. God bless you.
source: Philippine Star
- Written by Willie T. Ong, MD
- Created: 18 April 2017