7 Suggestions for Post-Diagnosis Waiting
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If you've recently been diagnosed with a serious illness, the days and weeks following can be torturous. After the initial shock wears off, most people are anxious for the next step so that they can begin to gear up for the fight that lies ahead. Unfortunately, the medical community doesn't typically work on a schedule that is as hurried as we might like. For many patients, after an initial diagnosis, getting an appointment to see a decent specialist can take several weeks, and that's if you're lucky. It can be an agonizing, frustrating, and helpless time for patients and their families so it's important to find ways to stay productively occupied in the days and weeks of waiting. Here are 7 productive things that you can do to be prepared for what lies ahead.
Research the basics.
There's something to be said for going into your first appointment armed and ready, and doing a little research of your own can help you to feel equipped for the next step in your journey. If you haven't requested copies of all medical tests already, now is the time to do so. Use the report to do your own research before meeting with your medical specialist. The Internet can help you understand on the report. Create a long list of questions for your doctor to cover at your appointment. But don't get too caught up in your research; you may find out more than you need or want to know. If some of the facts you uncover are a little scary, remember that every patient is different.
Review the credentials of the medical facility.
Once you have a better understanding of the medical test results, you can then begin to search online for the best medical facilities for your particular diagnosis. The simple truth is that it may not be the one you've been referred to; that may be only a starting point. Just because one hospital is renowned for treating heart disease, you can't assume that it's rated well for neurosurgery. Read up on the annual caseloads, if you can find them, and search around for recommendations from patients who have actually received treatment at those facilities. Many people stop short of simply asking for an honest evaluation, when it is the very information that could save their lives.
Call on your A-team.
Even though the wheels may seem to turn slowly before the first meeting with your medical team, once you meet with them things can heat up quickly. It pays to be prepared. Are you going to need some help with childcare so you can go to appointments? What about your pets? Can someone pick up your mail? How will you pay your bills if your treatment is done out of town? These things may seem insignificant now, but having them handled can be a major stress relief in the midst of treatment. Friends and family will want to know how to help, and these tasks are the perfect response for you to give them when asked.
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