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When Your Doctor Says, “I Have Bad News”

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I was interviewed for the November issue of Experience Life Magazine. When Your Doctor Says, “I Have Bad News”, by Jon Spayde, offers advice on how to cope with a scary diagnosis – without getting caught up in the chaos of fear. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

It’s a nightmare scenario. The doctor determines that you or a loved one has a life-altering condition — something that is going to call on your deepest resources of strength to handle. A bad diagnosis can land like a bomb, frightening and disorienting you in a way that little else can. Jessie Gruman has interviewed hundreds of people who have dealt with serious diagnoses, and she has survived four cancer scares herself. She asserts that even though a scary diagnosis can turn your world upside down, there are practical strategies you can use to take the best next steps and bring balance back to your life.
Barriers to Overcome
  • Sense of chaos. “When you get a serious diagnosis,” says Gruman, “you’re likely to feel that the world is spinning out of control. You don’t know the meaning of what’s going on, or what’s going to happen next. You feel totally unmoored.”
  • Runaway fears. Your imagination will kick into high gear, says Gruman, and fill in all the unknowns by finding worst-case scenarios and dwelling on them. When you revisit those scenes over and over in your head, they begin to seem like reality.
  • Feelings of urgency. It’s natural to feel impatient when you get a devastating diagnosis, says Gruman. “You tell yourself, ‘I have to get this cut out right away,’ or ‘I have to get on the right meds today.’ Super-urgency can be a way to distract yourself and channel your anxiety. It can also lead you to hasty and potentially unwise decisions about treatment and how to move forward.”
  • Replaying the past. You may dwell on how past behaviors contributed to the disease, causing a cascade of anxiety and self-recrimination.
Read the rest of the article here

More Blog Posts by Jessie Gruman

author bio

Jessie C. Gruman, PhD, was founder and president of the Center for Advancing Health from 1992 until her death in July 2014. Her experiences as a patient — having been diagnosed with five life-threatening illnesses — informed her perspective as an author, advocate and lead contributor to the Prepared Patient Blog. Her book, AfterShock, helps patients and caregivers navigate their way through the health care system following a serious or life-threatening diagnosis. The free app, AfterShock: Facing a Serious Diagnosis, offers a pocket guide based on the book. | More about Jessie Gruman


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Patient Engagement   Communicate with your Doctors  


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Anjii says
September 6, 2013 at 4:41 PM

That's really thinking at an impiessrve level