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Western Reserve Psychological Associates, Inc.Empowering change for over 40 years
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Living With a Serious Medical Condition

Today may be the first day you have had to live with the diagnosis of a serious medical condition, or it may be one of the many days you have survived this disease. Either way, you have probably found out that your medical condition has changed your life in significant ways. You must cope with changes in your feelings, your physical health, your system of support, your body image – your whole outlook on life. Below are some suggestions that have helped others cope with disease. Just as your medical condition has changed your life, the way you live your life can also change your disease from a formidable threat to a manageable condition.

  1. Allow yourself an opportunity to grieve your loss by expressing and sharing your feelings with caring others.

  2. Locate support. Accept the comfort offered by family and friends. Try attending a support group of people who share your concerns and situations. Read publications issued by related organizations.

  3. Cheer yourself on. Ultimately you must be able to comfort yourself since others will not always be there. Keep up your self-esteem. Be kind to yourself.

  4. Take responsibility for your health by learning about your medical condition and treatment and by being assertive with medical professionals about your needs and concerns.

  5. Set goals for yourself. No matter how small, any goal helps you feel a sense of achievement. Watch your grandchildren ice skate, go out with friends, put pictures in an album.

  6. Focus on ability. While your medical condition prevents you from doing some things, there are many activities which you as a living human being can still enjoy.

  7. Turn to your faith and religious tradition.

  8. State your needs. Don’t suffer in silence. No one knows what you can and cannot do as well as you. People may make assumptions unless you educate them.

  9. Keep your sense of humor. Learn to laugh at yourself and enjoy life.

  10. Search for meaning from your adversity. You can find meaning and hope in your darkest days. You can choose your response to painful experiences. You can choose to grow from it and shape it into a positive force in your life.

Catherine C. Cherpas, Ph.D.
Counseling Psychologist

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