To say the least, the news of being terminally ill can leave most of us in shock. It is hard to accept that only a limited time is left to close the chapter of your own life. Young people especially find it hard to digest and feel dejected to fall to a disease that cuts their life short. It seems unjustified to be given such short notice to take your life force away from you forever.
Although accepting the fact is unpleasant, it is reality. The sooner you come to terms with your terminal illness, the better you will feel with time. Being mentally prepared ensures you focus on people and responsibilities that need your immediate attention.
Once you address all the conflicting emotions stirring inside you, you can concentrate on creating a comfortable end of the life journey for yourself.
Our guide below will help you with doing that.
Let's get started!
1. Passing on the News- Hearing about your illness can be an overwhelming experience for your loved ones. Denial is the first response you will receive from family members who love you the most. You might be asked questions you have no answers for. If you are disturbed by the news yourself, those questions will make matters worse.
First things first, decide who to tell and those you don't need to. This will limit melancholic conversations so you can have meaningful discussions with your family rather than spending time answering messages to past co-workers or people you are not close to.
2. Join a Support Group - Getting to know people who are suffering the same disease doesn't only offer you high emotional support but also opens the door to a wealth of knowledge you need at the moment.
Visiting a support group, you might bump into a person undergoing similar treatment or learn a new way to tackle your daily struggles.
Also, a community with a collective consciousness of the peril of terminal illness can make your life look normal.
3. Know Your Priorities - You need to prioritize the activities you want to pursue and the tasks you must accomplish before you die. Legal matters must be sorted with the creation of a will and division of assets.
Though you are struggling with a disease that presumably can't be cured, family members can still be persistent on the treatment. Caring for you and researching new treatments everyday can leave them distressed and exhausted. You can pre-book funeral services to ease the burden on your loved one's shoulder after your death.
4. An Open Talk - Dying is an inevitable process. Everyone knows life will take its course and end. But, we are reluctant to accept this simple fact when the time comes. You’re going away can be the worst nightmare for your loved ones, mainly those who depend on you for their survival or whose life consists of seeing you every day.
To cheer you up, they are unlikely to reveal the emotional turmoil boiling inside them. They would keep it light and act normal. Tell them it is okay to feel sad and dejected so they can express their concerns about you and speak rather than suppressing their feelings.
They will thank you later for being kind and consoling them.
5. Get Support- Many elderly do not want their loved ones to be strained by the extensive level of care they need in the last few days. To save your family from the hassle, you can appoint a caretaker who is available to you the entire day. If you can afford, transfer to a hospice facility where you will have a qualified team of nurses and doctors for daily checkups.
Alternatively, you can have a medically qualified professional by your side to ensure you get timely care at home.
6. Dying Options - People suffering from deadly diseases like cancer that end painfully have the legal right to avoid any treatments after they reach a vegetative state. Under the do-not-resuscitate order passed in May 2020, you can request your hospital to stop all treatments and die peacefully when you face the fateful day.
Also, to make your death a comfortable affair, you can opt for aid-in-dying, which has been made legal in 2018. However, it has strict guidelines and requires a will contesting the withdrawal of life support.
Conclusion: Being diagnosed with a terminal illness is disheartening for any person. It is normal to feel dejected and show your disapproval. But, in the end, you have to sort your priorities and plan a death in a way you feel is right and comfortable. We have taken you through all the key points you should know after you are made aware of being terminally ill.