So you’ve just been diagnosed with a life-threatening or terminal condition — what are you supposed to do now? The first answer to the question is the most obvious: Find a trusted physician and/or a course of treatment.
Feel whatever it is you’re feeling.
It sounds generic, and it is. But if you suppress your feelings then they are only going to blow up in your face at the most inappropriate time. Set your pride aside. If you want to cry, then cry. If you’re inclined to violence, then find a pillow to beat up or scream into. Under any other circumstances I wouldn’t recommend the latter, because violence only breeds more violence, but this is a special occasion.
Contrarily, maybe you’re not feeling anything at all. You’re in shock. You feel numb or just don’t know what to feel. Don’t beat yourself up about it. This is common and it usually passes.
Allow yourself to be lost in the fear, for a moment.
When bad things happen, the first thing people usually tell you is not to panic. But this bit of advice is better suited for natural disasters or car accidents because those situations require you to act. With illness, there is usually nothing you can do but go through the motions. So if you want to freak out then do so.
When I facing having to have an emergency surgery while I was wide awake, I allowed myself a few minutes to just say, “I can’t handle it. I’m scared. I don’t want to do this. Oh god.” Once I expressed my fears verbally, I realized that I was actually letting go of them. After that I was able to pull it together and allow that whatever was going to take place, happen.
Take it as it comes.
Don’t worry about what’s going to happen five days from now, five hours from now, or five minutes from now. Otherwise you’re just putting yourself through unnecessary prolonged misery. Focus on what is happening that moment and be grateful for the breath that’s still in your lungs. None of know when we’re going to die. Miracles happen all of the time. I wouldn’t be writing this if that weren’t true.
When you’re ready; talk to someone.
Most people probably won’t be able to understand what you’re going through, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t want to try to help. Don’t ever worry about throwing yourself a ‘pity-party’. There really is no such thing. We all deserve a little compassion from time-to-time. The human experience is a confusing one. However, if you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone who has never been through what you’re going through, then go online. Find a support group. There are a lot of them out there.
Get your affairs in order.
That’s a scary idea, isn’t it? It’s important though. After you’ve processed everything, tell the people in your life what is going on. They’ll be upset, but they’ll be glad you let them know. You also might have children, pets, or plants that need to be looked after. Find someone willing to help you out with that. If you’re having a difficult time, then reach out to a local church. Your religious beliefs or lack thereof shouldn’t factor in here. These are people from your community. Accept the charity and don’t feel bad about it. Just make sure you thank them.
If you have a job, be sure to let your employer know what’s going on. Don’t feel obligated to return to work any time soon unless you feel like you can. Additionally, when you have the spare time, write up your will if you feel you need to.
Mend burnt bridges, forgive others, and forgive yourself for the past.
The time to get over your fear of rejection has come. Speak the unspeakable. Ask for forgiveness of others and mean it. Forgive others and allow them back into your life if you feel so inclined. Leave no stone unturned.
Try to stay positive.
In 1994, Dr. Masaru Emoto began experimenting with frozen water crystals. He and his team of scientists found that if they played pleasant music, spoke positive words, or prayed to the water before freezing it; beautiful hexagonal patterns would emerge similar to that of a snowflake. Alternatively, when the water was exposed to negative words or violent music, pattern-less bubbly blobs would appear in the ice crystals. Now consider that 70% of your body is composed of water. If thoughts can create structures in water, surely your own thoughts can manipulate the structure of you.
Tackle that bucket list.
Go on living. If you’re reading this, then that means you’re still here. Every moment is precious. Is there something that you’ve always wanted to do but never had the guts, time, or finances to do it? There are organizations that you can find here on the web that are geared just for people like you and situations like these.
The USGS Water Science School: http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/propertyyou.html
Office Masaru Emoto: http://www.masaru-emoto.net/english/water-crystal.html