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Navigating A Critical Medical Diagnosis with Your Spouse

“Until death do us part” is a part of our wedding vows that we only pray we’ll never have to experience. Although we understand that death is inevitable, when we think of our partner or spouse, we hope that we’ll live together for eternity. While this is a beautiful theory, reality sometimes kicks in and our hopes are challenged. In this blog, I’m talking about a challenge that could be real and that’s if your mate becomes ill and/or diagnosed with a critical medical condition.

I remember the very first day that I got a phone call from my husband expressing concerns about shortness of breath. While this may sound minor, it was major because my husband has suffered broken bones and cuts that he would refuse medical treatment for. Needless to say, I was immediately concerned because he said something about it. The next few weeks, months, and years were a complete blur. Fortunately, we had the condition evaluated but unfortunate were the results, Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. Major blow, major shock that would change the “normal” course of our lives forever.

As a support to your mate, it’s your duty to be strong for them and be the rock while they manage their own feelings and emotions regarding the news. Understand that all medical illnesses may not be as devastating, but when it’s your companion, anything can be upsetting and it will impact your relationship. Impact is not intended to mean a negative impact, but an impact in general.

Receiving medical news can be extremely stressful and depressing for the two of you. You begin to think about your futures and if that person will be there with you forever. What will happen to you financially, emotionally, mentally, physically. What about the kids? What about ME!!!

Receiving a critical medical diagnosis will rock you and your mates world but you can get through it. Being equipped will best prepare you in the event this happens to you and your SO.

First 5 Steps To Take After Receiving A Critical Medical Diagnosis:

  1. Pause and breathe. Deep slow breaths that will sturdy your nerves and possibly prevent panic attacks
  2. Connect and plug in with your partner. At this moment, they are probably scared and confused. You just need to be there in the moment. Allow them whatever space that’s necessary for them to process. You want to ensure that they feel your strength and that you can hold them up during this time
  3. Get information from your medical team and discuss next steps to include second opinions. You guys will have lots of questions and it’s imperative to get informed through your medical team to ensure the most appropriate course moving forward.
  4. Ensure that the two of you have the appropriate insurance policies and legal documents in order. We never want to plan for the worst, however, it’s imperative to be prepared whether this happens or not. A living will should be established; review of insurance policies through your employer, and much more that will be discussed in later articles.
  5. If possible, resist the urge to Google the diagnosis. I learned that this generated more stress and fear for me as you have access to a pool of information and experiences from others. You have to control for inaccurate information that may not be specific to what your partner is dealing with. Also, the stories from others that have gone through the exact same thing can be horrifying and discouraging.

Join my next series on Thursday as I provide more insight into navigating a critical medical diagnosis

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