Receiving a diagnosis of a terminal illness is an overwhelming and heartbreaking experience. It can be difficult to process the news and know what to do next.
In this blog post, we will provide information on what to expect with a terminal illness diagnosis, how long someone may live after receiving such a diagnosis, types of terminal illnesses, and advice for those who have been given this news.
What is a Terminal Illness?
A terminal illness means that the disease is incurable and eventually leads to death. There is no definitive answer for how long someone may live after being diagnosed with a terminal illness as it varies from person to person depending on their age, overall health, type of disease, and other factors.
What Does a Terminal Diagnosis Mean?
A terminal diagnosis means that the disease being treated cannot be cured, and it will eventually lead to death.
In some cases, treatment may help manage symptoms and improve quality of life but will not completely eliminate the disease. Treatment may also prolong the patient’s life expectancy but is not a cure.
Types of Terminal Illness
Terminal illnesses can vary from cancer to cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), AIDS/HIV, end-stage renal (kidney) failure, heart failure, organ failure, and more.
Your loved one’s doctor can provide you with more information about their specific diagnosis and how long they may live after receiving the news.
What to Do After a Terminal Diagnosis
It is normal to feel overwhelmed when your loved one receives a terminal illness diagnosis. Here are some tips to help you cope:
Take Time to Process the News
Allow yourself time to mourn and grieve as this is an incredibly difficult time. It is okay to take a few days or even weeks to adjust and come to terms with the news.
Reach Out for Support
It is important to have a support system during this time, so be sure to reach out for help when you need it. Ask your family and friends for their help and support, as well as resources from organizations that specialize in terminal illness care.
Make Practical Arrangements
Your loved one may need assistance with practical matters such as financial arrangements, insurance policies, legal documents, etc. Have conversations about these topics early on and make plans accordingly with their doctor’s advice in mind.
This is an incredibly emotional time for both you and your loved one. Spend quality time together, doing things that bring them joy and comfort.
How to Process the Diagnosis Of a Terminal Illness
Processing a terminal illness diagnosis is a difficult journey. It is important to take time to process your emotions and understand that everyone’s experience is different. Some things you can do include:
Reach Out for Professional Help
Seeking professional help, such as counseling or therapy, can be beneficial in coping with the news and associated emotional upheaval.
Practice Self Care
Take care of yourself mentally and physically during this time by engaging in activities that bring joy, finding positive outlets for expression, eating healthy meals, getting plenty of rest, etc.
Talking To Your Children About Terminal Illnesses
It is important to discuss the diagnosis with your children in an age-appropriate manner. Explain to them what’s happening and why, but be sure to keep the conversation positive and reassuring.
When Someone Should Receive Hospice Care With A Terminal Illness
Hospice care should be discussed when it becomes clear that curative treatments are not working or are no longer an option.
Hospice care can provide comfort and support for those who are living with or dying from a terminal illness.
It is typically recommended when a person has six months or less left to live, however, this time frame may vary based on individual circumstances.
Hospice care focuses on providing physical, emotional, social, and spiritual support for both the patient and their loved ones throughout the entire process.
It is important to discuss this with your loved one’s doctor in order to make sure that they receive the best possible care during this difficult time.
Helpful Resources for Navigating a Terminal Illness Diagnosis
There are many resources available to help you and your loved one navigate a terminal illness diagnosis. Here are some helpful links:
- National Institutes of Health
- American Cancer Society
- Association for Psychological Science
- Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
It can be hard to find the right resources in this situation. Your loved one’s doctor or healthcare team can provide you with more information and support.
Protecting Your Mental Health During a Terminal Illness Diagnosis
It is important to take care of your mental health during this time. Seek help from a therapist, find ways to relax and ground yourself in the present moment, practice self-care, and reach out for support from family and friends.
Your loved one’s diagnosis is a difficult situation to go through. Remember that you are not alone and there are resources available to help you cope with this news. Take it one day at a time and make sure that you get the support that you need during this journey.
Some individuals find it therapeutic to write about their experience or talk to others who may have gone through a similar situation. Ultimately, find what works best for you and your loved one during this time.
Take the time to process the diagnosis and understand that it is okay to grieve and express your emotions in whatever way feels appropriate. Everyone’s journey with a terminal illness is different, so be sure to honor your feelings as you go through this difficult period of time.
Receiving a terminal illness diagnosis is an incredibly difficult time for both you and your loved one. It is important to take time to process the news, reach out for help and support, make practical arrangements, and be present.
Additionally, hospice care should be discussed when it becomes clear that curative treatments are no longer an option. There are many helpful resources available to help you navigate through this stressful period – so don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for assistance when needed.