I don’t typically write about this topic, however, it recently caught my eye because chronic illness affects approximately 133 million people in the United States alone. That’s 40% of the population! Having worked with clients who struggle with chronic illness, I’ve seen firsthand how wearisome it can be. A chronic illness touches every area of our lives which is why I thought this article by Diane Harrison might be of interest should you or someone you love be touched by such a diagnosis. I hope you find it helpful!
Living with Incurable Disease: Strategies for Moving Forward
Nearly half of all adults in the United States suffer from an ongoing, incurable illness such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, or diabetes. If you’ve recently received a diagnosis of an incurable illness, you know that these conditions can be painful and debilitating. Perhaps not surprisingly, these individuals are also two to three times more likely to suffer from depression. Facing an incurable illness diagnosis can feel like your entire life has been turned upside down, and it can be difficult to know how to move forward. Evergreen Life and Wellness Coaching is here to share some tips and resources to help you get your bearings as you navigate your diagnosis.
Organize Your Medical Files
Keeping track of your own medical files is extremely useful for illnesses like cancer that involve numerous tests, treatment reports, and medical notes. Storing your own documents will enable you to bring your files with you as you move between specialists and facilities. You’ll also be able to review your files at home to better understand your treatment and manage health insurance claims. Try to store all your files as PDFs for easy sharing. PDFs are more reliable than Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint files and can be easily password protected for added security. If you need to convert other file types to PDF, look for a free drag-and-drop conversion tool online.
Review Your Insurance Coverage
After being diagnosed with an incurable disease, it’s important to review your insurance coverage to ensure you’ll be able to meet your medical needs. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible for insurance through your employer, spouse’s employer, or government programs like Medicare or Medicaid. MakeALivingWriting.com explains that if you’re self-employed or work part-time, you may need to purchase insurance through the marketplace, COBRA, or the Freelancer’s Union. Your local Chamber of Commerce may also offer affordable group plans to members.
Keep in mind that insurers cannot deny you coverage due to a pre-existing condition, but you can expect higher premiums as a result. It’s important to carefully review the details of your insurance policy, including your deductible, co-pays, and maximum out-of-pocket expenses. You may also want to consider additional coverage, such as disability insurance, to help cover your living expenses if you’re unable to work.
Shift Your Mindset
It can be easy to feel hopeless and defeated after receiving a diagnosis of an incurable illness. While cliché, shifting your mindset and focusing on positivity really can help you maintain a sense of control over your health. This doesn’t mean ignoring the reality of your situation or suppressing negative emotions but rather embracing a mindset of resilience and hope. Embrace challenges, seek support, practice self-compassion, and try to recognize any limiting beliefs you may be holding about yourself or your illness.
Move into an Accommodating Home
People with incurable illnesses tend to spend a lot of time at home. Apartment Therapy stresses the importance of making home improvements to make your life easier, more accessible, less exhausting, and less painful. For some, this might mean moving into a more accommodating home. Even if you have no problem getting around your home right now, it’s better to make this move before it becomes a necessity. Do some research into your local real estate market to see what’s out there and determine how long you can expect your current home to sit on the market.
Receiving a diagnosis of a chronic illness can seem overwhelming, but it’s important to remember that there are strategies and resources to help you move forward. By finding high quality health insurance coverage, managing your own medical files, and moving into a more accessible home, you can maintain a sense of control over your health and improve your quality of life!
Evergreen Life and Wellness Coaching can help you move forward from your diagnosis by offering support, guidance, and motivation. Schedule your complimentary consultation today so we can discuss your challenges and goals!