By Susan Bernstein
As a teenager, Dawn Smith-Popielski struggled with pain. She saw many doctors, but they couldn’t pinpoint the cause. At 18, tests finally confirmed she had advanced rheumatoid arthritis.
“I thought, 'Maybe this is not for real,'” says Smith-Popielski, now 40. Her doctor also told her that after hip surgery, she might wind up with a limp. “I cried. I was so upset. None of my friends were going through this. I didn’t want to tell anybody.”
If you learn you have an illness like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or rheumatoid arthritis, the news can be scary. You may have fears about pain or disability. You may worry about the cost of treatment or if you can keep working.
But getting diagnosed can also be empowering, Smith-Popielski says. She later found out that she also has a form of thyroid disease. Knowing about her conditions helps her explain her symptoms to other people.
“If you feel like you need closure, and if you have been waiting for a diagnosis for a long time, it can help. Take the best assessment of your condition, find out how you can treat it, and move on,” she says.
Try these ideas to get through a troubling diagnosis so you can face the next phase of treatment with less fear and stress.
Stay Open-Minded About Your Treatment
It's normal to feel fear, sadness, shock, or disbelief when you get diagnosed. But listen to what your doctor says about your treatment options. Try to think positive about your chances of leading a fulfilling life despite your disease.
Also, you may have heard things about your disease or its treatments that are out of date or wrong, says Ann Goebel-Fabbri, PhD, a senior psychologist at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.
“For example, in diabetes, it’s rare for patients and families to come to the diagnosis already with the awareness that current treatments are capable of significantly decreasing the risks of diabetes-related medical complications,” she says.
source : Scary Diagnosis: 6 Useful Tips