How Will We Cope With a Diagnosis?

LilMagill

How Will We Cope With a Diagnosis?

LilMagill
medical-563427_640So, first, an update. Thanks all for the kind wishes about my son. His stool came back negative for H. Pylori, so the doc has found nothing wrong. She recommended Zantac, but we really don't think his symptoms are at all consistent with acid reflux. So, we're just paying attention to his symptoms, which seem to be very mild and infrequent. Maybe it's nothing.

Mom is in a good mood lately, and still really capable in so many ways. We are happily anticipating the holidays. She doesn't have a lot of gift-giving obligations, so her preparation is not stressful. But. On Jan. 15, she's schedule for neuropsychological testing, a 2-3-hour series of tests to diagnose her memory problems. If the diagnosis is Alzheimer's or any kind of progressive dementia, how will we cope? I'm terrified of what the news will do to her, that it will make her frightened, sad, upset, worried - all realistic reactions - that it will make her life miserable. And how will I handle that? Has anyone had this experience of your loved one having to cope with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's or something similar? Was it diagnosed when the person was in the early stage, like my mother - early enough to be able to think about what it will mean for the future? Is there any way to lessen the impact? I've thought about asking the doctor - by letter or something - to minimize it - like "based on your tests, I'm going to prescribe Aricept to help your memory." But she has a right to know...

I'll appreciate any advice or comments. Thanks!

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LilMagill

Thanks everyone for the feedback! I will try to forget about this till the holidays are over. I just want to protect her feelings.

Hussy

I'm with Denise and John on this one. My husband has pancreatic cancer, so thinking about the next CT and what it will show always has the potential to create big-time scanxiety. (Will the tumor have grown? Will the cancer have metastasized? What will we do then? And...the runaway snowball of fear is off and rolling down the hill, growing bigger and bigger by the second.) I figure there's plenty of time to worry about the scan results and their implications once we actually get them. Until then, challenging though it may be, we try to enjoy every day because we just don't know how many we have left. I don't want to look back and regret that I spent time I could have used to make lasting memories on worrying about something over which I have no control. I know it's easier said than done, but try to put that January appointment on the shelf for now and enjoy the holidays with your mom.

John Parks-Coleman

I can definitely understand the anxiety associated with awaiting a diagnosis. I am rowing that same boat. One piece of advice that I have received from the Neurologist treating Yvonne is that, once a condition is diagnosed, a coping mechanism is to not focus on the diagnosis itself, it can easily lead to becoming the diagnosis.\r\nNow, I say this, again -- no diagnosis for Yvonne's various conditions (aside from Dementia), and I will cope with it as it comes. I agree with <a href='http://www.caregiving.com/members/denise/' rel=\"nofollow\">@denise</a> focus on today, tomorrow is not here, so you can plan for tomorrow, but you can live today. I hope this helps, it's what is keeping me going.

Denise

Hi LM--I believe a diagnosis is a good thing. I think if you let your fears call and cancel, then you'll continue to live in limbo. Part of the reason it's good to get a diagnosis is because then it will be behind you and then you'll be able to cope. The anticipation and not knowing takes away your coping skills. Knowing exactly what's going on means you can cope, means you can plan, means you can look at treatments, means you can consider additional services and help. The diagnosis means you can tell yourself the truth and I really believe that's an important part of coping.\r\n\r\nYou will cope because that's what you do. You'll have tough moments and difficult days. You'll also have great moments and good days. I also believe that your mom will cope. She's already had difficulties in her life and she has coped. She's strong enough to work through the news and get to the place where she copes.\r\n\r\nBecause you've got a month before the appointment, I would say you can focus on today and this holiday season. You've got a lot living to do in the next 30 days. :)\r\n\r\n(<a href='http://www.caregiving.com/members/g-j/' rel=\"nofollow\">@G-J</a>, who cares for her husband, is out of town for the next few days. When she has a chance, I know she'll share how she and her husband coped with his diagnosis. He was in his mid 50s when he was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. They both are now amazing advocates for Alzheimer's research. The diagnosis has been difficult and it's also added a unexpected depth of meaning to their lives. The diagnosis means her husband could no longer work. Leaving a job he loved was difficult (and still is). They've had difficulty and they've coped.)

jan

Personally, I sure wouldn't change the appointment. It probably took a while to get, anyway. If she isn't resisting it, then I say go forward. Our geriatric specialist indicated there were medicines that might address the process, like Exelon, which my mother tried, but it had limited success, used too late. If there is something that could ease the process and you could see that your mother had it, you would want it. It's like asking for help or using the services of an outside caregiver; what is gained by waiting, really? And alot of good could be received by not waiting.

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