Coming to terms with a difficult diagnosis

If a doctor gave you a dreaded diagnosis, how would you respond?
Tips for responding to a difficult diagnosis. Photo via Pexels, CC0 License.

Whenever we go to the doctors with symptoms that we’re not quite sure of, everyone thinks the same thing. Please, don’t let it be cancer or any of the other serious illness that is linked to suffering, pain and ultimately a bleak diagnosis. Thankfully, for most people, it’s not going to be the worst case scenario. If you have a lump on your body, it’s more likely to be a cyst than cancer. If you have a headache, it’s more likely to be a migraine or a stress induced pain rather than the first sign of a brain tumor.

However, others will receive that dreaded diagnosis. Even then though, it’s important not to panic because there are ways to cope with a difficult diagnosis.

Get a Second Opinion

You should not settle for the prognosis of one doctor, particularly if they say that your treatment options are limited. Instead, you should speak to a second doctor and see what they say. They might have a completely different perspective of the situation. Ultimately, you want to make sure you have a doctor who shares your point of view. If you are ready to fight the illness, you need a doctor ready to provide you with the treatment you need to do just that. You might not find a doctor like this when you receive your first diagnosis.

Talk to Family and Friends

When you’re faced with a difficult diagnosis, you should make sure that you have a support group in place. This could be made up of your family or friends. But it is important that you have someone, anyone to lean on. You don’t want to go through it alone. Instead, you need to make sure that you have people who understand and who can help you through this difficult time. This burden will be easier to bear if you have others who can carry it with you.

Consult a Specialist

Whether you have a rare form of cancer or a typical type of illness, you should certainly consult a specialist. This is the best way of getting the right advice on a condition that you may have no personal knowledge of. Colleen Huber is one of these experts and can provide advice for patients suffering from conditions like pancreatic cancer and other serious cancers. With the right specialist, you might be able to formulate a treatment plan that will help you deal with the illness, and this could ultimately improve your quality of life.

Live Your Life

A serious diagnosis of a medical condition shouldn’t stop you from living your life. Quite the opposite actually. You should be doing more to enjoy your life and get the most you can from it. Don’t start hiding away or retreating from the world and don’t treat it like a death sentence. Medicine changes every day with fresh advancements bringing new treatment options.

We hope you see now that there’s no need to panic when you receive a serious medical diagnosis. There are plenty of options and every possibility that you can stilllive a perfectly full life.


  1. Always get a second opinion and find out all your options. A friend and colleague of mine would have had both of her breasts removed unnecessarily if she didn’t get a second opinion.

    Have a good weekend Christy. :)

  2. But when you are actually given a diagnosis of cancer it’s a whole new ball game. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2005 and have had extensive treatment. However, I’m still here and surviving, although it took quite a few years to come to terms with it. The acceptance doesn’t happen overnight.

  3. Wonderful writing of this post Christy. So important. If it weren’t for my insistence for a 2nd opinion, I wouldn’t be replying to this post right now. <3 xo

  4. I’ve been super-impressed with how events played out after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. A nurse navigator delivered my biopsy results over the phone, and she was there to set things in motion with my initial meetings with a surgeon and oncologist. Not all hospitals do this.

    • I’m so glad you’ve received the highest level of care, Jeri. Keep going, sis, keep going <3

  5. About a month ago I had been confronted with the very difficult diagnosis of having a rare form of myopathy, that’s a muscle desease. It is not curable and the loss of muscle power and the loss of controlling it increases. For four days and nights I lived in hell, than I made the decision, to go on with living my life, and filling it with as much activity and joy as possible. My neurologist suggested, I should quit my job – I refused to do so, I’m still working, although my job is very debilitating, and I will continue working, walking, discovering nature, traveling to my beloved Italy, taking pictures, writing short stories, until I would be unable to move my limbs anymore… I’m incurable ill? Well, that’s a fact, nobody is to blame – but I’m a fighter, always have been, and this damned desease won’t take away my joy of life!

    • YOU are indeed a fighter! Your story is so motivating and I thank you for sharing it here. Keep living life and spread love around you <3 I wish you all the best as you move forward!

  6. Very good advice, especially about getting support as well as a second opinion. It’s incredible (and a little worrying!) how the opinions, suggestions, diagnoses and prognosis given can vary so much between specialists. Great post  ♥

  7. An extensive study from many years ago showed that those who made themselves knowledgeable and were involved in their treatment choices fared better than those who were “under the doctor” and felt disempowered.

    Your advice is very much along those lines. :-)

  8. Hi Christy:
    Great advice and I think I can speak for most people in saying the hard news does have an impact. As we age there are greater risks of our past habits catching up to us. So many people just seem to give up. I would never settle on just one opinion. I have a great Doctor who is a referral man when it comes to anything besides a common cold… I am thankful for that… Excellent writing my friend.
    Hugs from Alberta… Just over the big rocks.

    • Your doctor is a referral man and that’s awesome – I’m glad you are in good hands :)

  9. Christy B these are excellent suggestions!
    We’re all like beautiful flowers – and the bloom will fall off and we’ll become compose. No time is a good time when you’re enjoying life but eventually it does end. Well, in this dimension, that is. :)

    • Thanks Mel for sharing your comment so eloquently and I like how you see us as beautiful flowers. As Robert Frost said, nothing gold can stay… <3 Here's to enjoying this lifetime to the max!

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