There’s nothing worse than being told you have a terminal illness. It changes your whole life and there are few things more scary than facing your own mortality. You probably knew something was wrong and that’s why you went to see a doctor. And then you were even more concerned when you were sent for multiple tests. Then, finally, your diagnosis was given to you. That’s when your whole world fell apart.


There’s no ideal way to deal with finding out you have a terminal illness. You may be angry. You may be depressed. You may be filled with fear. And no one can tell you how you should be handling it. But there are some things you should do after you’re diagnosed and here are six of them.


Speak to a specialist

You know what’s wrong with you. Whether it’s a disease you’ve heard about time and time again or something you can barely pronounce, you now have your answer. But you can’t simply leave it at that. You need someone to explain it to you. You need a professional to give you all the details, suggest treatment or help you understand your condition better. Which is why you should get the name of a specialist straight away from the doctor who diagnosed you.


Tell your loved ones

This is likely to be incredibly difficult. There will be tears. As much as your family and friends will try to be supportive, they will also be overcome by emotions. And, unfortunately, you’re going to have to endure that. They will also have a lot of questions. They will want to know everything you wanted to know when you went to see the specialist. So, keep track of all that information. The last thing you want is them getting all the “facts” from an in depth Google search.

It’s best you tell everyone together as you don’t want to have to explain the same thing over and over. Instead, invite your loved ones round and explain it all at once. This also works because they will have other people there to commiserate with and not just you.


Form a support structure

You most likely have a support structure. Your doctor, your family and your friends make up your support structure. But you can also join a support group for people with terminal illnesses. You’ll find that your loved ones mean well and want to be there for you every step of the way, but they can only do so much. They don’t fully understand what you’re going through. There are many support groups for people just like you and the people in these groups are going through exactly what you’re going through. They can be an incredible help.


Plan ahead

This is going to be the most difficult period of your life. But it’s also going to be difficult for your friends and family. Both you and your loved ones are going to need to be productive and have some kind of structure. And you can do this by planning ahead. Make sure your will is up to date and everything is being left to the right people. And if you’re worried about the funeral costs, you should check your funeral cover in South Africa and see what funds are available. This is as much for your family as it is for you. It will help you deal with what is going to happen.


Create a bucket list

You have limited time left, so now is when you should be doing everything you’ve always wanted to do. If you’ve always wanted to go to Paris, then hop on a plane as soon as you can. If you’ve always wanted to go skydiving, make a booking right now. If you’ve always wanted to see a certain musician live, find out where they’re playing next and make a plan. You don’t have much time left to do all the things you’ve always wanted to do, so do what you can in the time you have left.


Spend time with those you love

You may feel as though your presence only makes your loved ones feel more sad but that most certainly is not the case. They want to spend as much time with you as possible and you should feel the same way. It’s important you feel loved during this incredibly difficult part of your life. It’s not only so they can say goodbye but so that you can as well.

About The Author

I was born in the Eastern Cape, close to the waves. After getting my degree in Media, Communication and Culture, I knew it was time to make my way to a big city. Not wanting to leave the ocean, Cape Town was the natural choice for me. At first I thought the fast paced world of marketing. But I never forgot that what I'd always wanted to do was write. Now I'm a freelance writer, where my office is my bedroom and my platform is the World Wide Web. I live with my partner and our two beloved Great Danes. When not reading or writing you can probably find me on the beach or exploring nature trails.

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