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Diagnosis and Stages of Grief

Can you believe after all this time, after all the medical appointments, after all the bloodwork, and other medical tests you FINALLY have a diagnosis? Now what? Maybe you find yourself going through the stages of grief? Grief isn't just for death, it's for the loss of anything we now find hard to face. After your diagnosis, you may find the stages of grief start setting in. For some it may be a long journey to acceptance, for others, it comes easier. Either way, it's something most of us that are patients or caregivers to patients experience.

  1. Denial - Is my doctor right? How about the test results, are they accurate? Maybe this is something else? - This can be the worst stage, it can make you feel like you have even more questions now. Once you find acceptance, the journey will get better, I promise!

  2. Anger - This can be different for a person with a diagnosis versus a person that is a caregiver, say a parent. For those that are patients, the anger could be at your medical provider for taking so long to figure this out, or maybe for saying "You have (fill in the medical condition)" and sending you out the door to fend for yourself. For those of us that are parents of children that are diagnosed with any chronic illness, we can sometimes be angry at ourselves for not figuring it out sooner. Please don't beat yourself up, if the professionals couldn't figure it out with their medical degrees, how could you possibly be expected to?

  3. Bargaining - Let's use celiac disease as an example: Maybe a little bit of gluten won't hurt me? For those with NCGS or another medical condition outside of celiac disease, this may be true. You need to listen to your body and let it guide you. For celiac disease, this is a hard NO! If you have been diagnosed with CD, the only form of treatment is a strict gluten free way of life.

  4. Depression - Maybe this is in the form of "why me?". Trust me, this will get better. With knowledge comes great things! You are reeling from all the things that have changed and the ones that will need to change going forward.

  5. Acceptance - For some this comes quickly, for others, it can take months. Once you accept your "limitations", you will realize that they really aren't as limiting as you first thought. Focusing on what you CAN have instead of what you CANNOT have is a more positive outlook and way to go forward.

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