Gentle tears were rolling down my face when I was first told of my diagnosis. I didn’t know what to do, how to think. Thoughts started bombarding my mind. What do I do now? What do I need to change? Who do I tell? How should I feel, etc? My thoughts didn’t know where to go, where to park.
The doctors had just completed a procedure, Transesophageal Electrocardiogram, to determine if surgery would benefit my health situation. The procedure went well but the diagnosis didn’t. Surgery was either too dangerous, or it would not work. The doctor estimated that without surgery I had only a certain amount of years left. That was a big pill to swallow. Of course, I planned to get a second opinion. What do you do when you are given a terminal diagnosis?
There’s no right response to a terminal diagnosis. Denial, anger, fear, depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and confusion are just some of the emotional battles. It is common not to initially accept the diagnosis.
After the procedure and learning my diagnosis I went home. Still dizzy from the procedure, I laid on my couch. In my dizziness I talked to God and asked Him, “God, what do I do?” In my spirit I felt Him say, “Keep doing what you are doing.” I could do that, but my immediate challenge was how do I keep my thoughts intact and not allow the diagnosis of dying – in months or years consume my mind. He must have intervened because, to my surprise, it was not hard at all. If I concentrated on not changing my daily routine, I was fine. In fact, it was easy. Sometimes I forget about the diagnosis altogether and that feels good! My body began to feel better as well. Wow!
But I do have those bad nights when I don’t feel well and the fear of dying attacks me. Dying alone at night in my bed, never fixing what is broken in my life. When I have bad nights, I think about relationships and life’s issues. In a feeling of desperation and urgency I want to fix what is broken. So, what do I do to get through the night? You know me, I talk to God!
Although I continued my daily routine, I did reflect on my life. That reflection resulted in me making serious changes in the way I think. So serious that it has improved the composition of my atmosphere. Suddenly restrictions and excuses in my mind were replaced by uninhibited freedom and empowerment. There is no time for delays anymore. What is this serious change?
In the time I have left on this earth, I am determined to be free in my spirit and to have FUN! Fun! Fun! Fun! I am determined to laugh and enjoy life to the best of my ability, despite my disability, despite the seriousness of life.. There is a peace within my spirit, a joy within my heart.
My gentle tears have now become tears of gratefulness and thanksgiving. God has a way of bringing peace where there is turmoil, faith where there is fear, joy where there is sadness, comfort where there is grief. Time, energy and life is robbed every day because of traumas, trials and life’s disappointments.
What causes you to lose sleep? What causes your peace to be robbed? Where do you go to get relief from life’s traumas and trials? What do you do? Does the composition of your atmosphere need to change? Cortney S Warren PhD shares her mother’s (Dr. Karen J. Warren) struggle with MSA article “Watching Myself Die” click here , and “I Just Learned that I Have a Terminal Illness: Now What?” Click Here . Though terminal health challenges may be different there are some similarities in the journey of life after a diagnosis.
Just know there is life after a terminal diagnosis. Embrace life and it will embrace you.