Tag Archives: diagnosis

A Guide to Coping With a Newly Diagnosed Chronic Illness (Part 3)

It can be very tough to receive a new diagnosis, especially if it is something that may last a lifetime like lupus or diabetes, but there are things you can do to make your journey ahead easier. Let’s take a look at a few more tips for readying yourself to deal with a new chronic diagnosis:

Strive to Stay Positive

It is important when dealing with a chronic illness that you don’t sink into a comorbid depression. This can cloud your judgement when it comes to taking medications routinely or staying on a healthy, motivated path and will add a whole new layer to your suffering. Recent studies also suggest that looking to a higher power, developing a kinship with nature or engaging in any kind of spiritual activity or belief may help ease the burden of a chronic illness by promoting positivity. However, any healthy thing you think of that will both keep you smiling and ward off stress will do just fine!

Prepare for Flares

While we’ve established that positivity is a must in dealing with chronic illness, but it is also important not to set unrealistic expectations for your health. It is a good idea to be ‘cautiously optimistic’ during periods of disease remission (no symptoms): both happy you’re doing well, but also prepared in case things start to get rocky again. If you always ensure you’re prepared for turbulence along the way, you won’t be blindsided or discouraged if your illness has a flare-up. So basically, keep your smile but also keep a protective umbrella over your head so you’re ready if things take a tough turn.

Kick Chronic Stress to the Curb

Too much stress is not only terrible for everyone, but also happens to be a major trigger of many (if not all) chronic illnesses. When you are stressed, your adrenal hormones spike, causing your heart to pound in your chest, your neck and shoulder muscles to tense up, your blood pressure to rise and your breath to become irregularly fast. This is your body in its ‘fight or flight’ mode. If these levels are constantly thrown out-of-whack can incite symptoms of a dormant disease to resurface, especially in the case of autoimmune diseases. Stress also seems to be a front-running factor in heart disease. For the sake of your mental and physical wellbeing, get your stress under control today. Try some of our Stress Busters if you need some tips on how to lessen it.

Don’t Let Your Illness Overshadow Your Identity

Sometimes coming to terms with an illness that is out of control or overwhelming by nature can take over a person’s life. Between doctors, specialists, new medications, symptoms, flare-ups, and the emotional roller coaster you may be dealing with, it is hard to think of much else. However, even though the focus may have to be on your illness while you get to know it and try to get adjusted both mentally and physically (or if you are going through a bad flare-up), when things calm down it is a good idea to try to redirect your focus to the other things that are important to you.

We hope our guide to coping with a new chronic illness can help ease your difficult journey a little! If you haven’t already caught Part 1 and Part 2 of our guide, check them out today! Thanks for visiting DocChat.


A Guide to Coping With a Newly Diagnosed Chronic Illness (Part 2)

It can be both overwhelming and scary to receive a new diagnosis, especially if it is something that may last a lifetime like lupus or diabetes, but there are many things you can do to make your journey ahead easier. In our last post, we looked a the first few tips for coping with a chronic diagnosis, now for some more helpful hints to set you down a positive path:

Be Fair To Yourself

We can all be a little hard on ourselves sometimes, but there’s a special kind of frustration that comes with a chronic illness when it gets in the way of everyday activities or things you want to do. It can be easy to berate yourself, “Why can’t I just do this? I always could before!”, but that kind of attitude will only lead to more frustration. You have to be kind to yourself and give yourself the allowance you may need to adapt to your shifting capabilities. You can only do what you can do.

Restructure Your Life As Necessary  

That brings us right into our next tip, once you receive your diagnosis a lot of things may become clear, like why you’ve been feeling sick for so long. It may also become apparent that your life now holds new challenges that you need to ready yourself for. If you need to ease the burden in your life to avoid harmful stress, that’s okay. If you can’t go for coffee with your friend, pick up the kids, meet your deadline for work and cook supper when you’re not feeling up to snuff, then simplify. Prioritize the things that need to be done, and let the rest wait for another day.

Seek Support

Reach out to others in a way that works for you. Try a local support group, or an one that is based online. If support groups aren’t for you, turn to family or friends if you need some help navigating your newly modified life trajectory. Reach out for help when you need it, don’t suffer in silence while you try to be an island.

Take Downbeats When You Need Them

If you’re overtired or not well, don’t try to be a hero. For certain chronic illnesses like lupus, if you don’t take breaks and rest days when you need them, you’re asking for a full-on attack of symptoms. If you are fatigued, rebuild your energy with a down day so you’re ready to tackle everything the upcoming day or week has in store for you.

Keep an eye out for more helpful tips for coping with chronic illness in the future! Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you’ll check back again soon.


A Guide to Coping With a Newly Diagnosed Chronic Illness (Part 1)

It can be daunting to receive a new diagnosis, especially if it is of the chronic variety. If you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic illness, it means you have a disease or condition that lasts for a long time (sometimes the rest of your life). Chronic illnesses are usually incurable, but treatable. Let’s take a look at a few helpful hints for coping with a new chronic diagnosis:

Accept What You Can’t Change

As with any serious bump in the road, the first step to dealing with a tricky diagnosis is to accept it. It can be temping to convince yourself you don’t have congestive heart failure or lupus like the doctors have told you and the tests have shown you, but this will only do you a disservice. If you are to do everything in your power to be as healthy as you can be, you need to face your condition head-on.

Be Your Own Advocate

When you struggle with a serious illness, it can be a long and winding road of emotional doctor’s appointments, tests and re-tests and conflicting opinions. While doctors are invaluable to the process, you shouldn’t just coast on blind faith. The best outcome will be achieved if you work together as a team, with you bringing the knowledge of your situation and symptoms, and the doctor bringing the medical expertise. At the end of the day, you are the one who lives your life and knows your body best and a doctor can’t read your mind. Your health journey should be a team trip, with you in the driver’s seat.

Foster Good Communication With Your Docs  

It pays to be on good terms with your attending physicians and specialists. If you have a chronic condition, chances are you’ll be needing them to take good care of you for the foreseeable future. If you’re a difficult patient, you may want to step back and reflect on how to change that. Even though any good doctor doesn’t let his or her feelings toward a patient color their care, it stands to reason that if you have a good relationship, he or she will be more likely to go the extra mile for you.

Knowledge Is A Friend 

While googling health concerns in excess can sometimes lead to health anxiety, if you have a specifically diagnosed illness, it is a good idea to at least read up on it. By learning more about your condition, you will be more aware of new developments in treatment, tips that can help ease your illness or potential complications to be on the lookout for. Just be careful not to let your research get the best of you, as that can have its own negative consequences.

Do Your Part

Your illness is not a one-way street where your doctor has to do all the work to better your quality of life, you have an active role to play in this movie too. It is important to do your homework and make the positive lifestyle changes you need to make to ensure a healthier future. If you have extra weight to lose, get it off. If you need to exercise more, get on it. If you should start eating better or following a certain nutritional plan, start today. You can’t expect to gain control of your health if you don’t do your part to get there.

There you have the first few of our chronic illness coping tips, check out Part 2 next! Thanks for visiting DocChat!


Lymphoma Fast Facts

Lymphoma is a form of blood cancer that targets the immune system. There are two main types of lymphoma: Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s. Lymphoma is a relatively common type of cancer; there were more than 81,000 new cases of lymphoma diagnosed in the United States in 2016 alone. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key facts about lymphoma:

  • Luckily, in many cases, lymphoma is a relatively curable type of cancer, with the survival rate nearly doubling for both types since the 1960’s. Having said that, many people sadly still die annually from the disease, but it does not claim nearly as many lives as some other forms of cancer.
  • Blood cancers account for more than 10% of all new cancer cases.
  • Every 3 minutes an American is diagnosed with some type of blood cancer (lymphoma, myeloma or leukemia).
  • B-cell and T-cell malignant growths are associated with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
  • One of the most defining symptoms of lymphoma is painless swelling of the lymph nodes (such as those in the neck or armpits) that doesn’t go away.
  • Other symptoms may include: sweating (particularly night sweats), weight loss, fatigue, chills, general itching or swelling in random parts of the body.
  • Lymphoma is often mistaken for a nagging cold until the symptoms linger for weeks or months.
  • Lymphoma is associated specifically with a sub-type of white blood cells called lymphocytes.
  • There are 5 stages of lymphoma, 1 being cancer that is localized to the lymph nodes only, and stage 5 is widespread cancer that has migrated throughout the body.
  • Diagnostic tests for lymphoma may include: a subcutaneous tissue biopsy, platelet and white blood cell lab tests, an MRI, PET scans or x-rays. If your doctor suspects lymphoma he or she will likely perform a combination of these tests to confirm lymphoma or rule it out.

That concludes our look at lymphoma. Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you return again soon.

Connecting The Dots – Telemedicine As A Diagnostic Tool

It can be terrifying to get a new diagnosis, or just as scary not to be able to find the right diagnosis. It can often help to seek a ‘second opinion’ or another point of view on your health situation so as to gain some perspective and direction. Telemedicine can be the perfect avenue to seek a secondary perspective on your health situation.

Don’t Risk A Misdiagnosis

A shocking 12 million people are misdiagnosed annually in the United States. This is not a comfortable statistic. It is your right as a patient to seek alternative perspectives on your health if you choose to, and it could very well save you a lot of grief and misfortune.

Puzzling Conditions

Some of the most misdiagnosed and undiagnosed conditions fall into the autoimmune category. There are more than 80 autoimmune diseases, and many of them mask themselves in the body, creating strange unpleasant symptoms and going in and out of remission which makes them difficult for doctors to test, catch and diagnose. Lupus, for example can take a decade to fully diagnose as it mimics other conditions and the symptoms come and go. That is a long time suffering without answers. Often, by the time it is diagnosed it is quite pervasive and could probably have been curtailed if the person had gone on the proper treatment years earlier.

Telemedicine To Help Connect The Dots

If a person has been back and forth to the same one or two doctors trying to gain consensus on a tricky condition, it can be helpful to get another objective opinion. Telemedicine is the perfect platform for this, especially if you live in an area with limited resources because it provides an eagle eye view of all the clues. A telemedicine doctor usually has years of experience under his or her belt and can take into account photos, past and present blood test results, symptoms, comorbid conditions, medications and so on. This fresh perspective with access to all the information may very well be the missing link in figuring out an underlying condition.

Take Action!

All in all, it can’t hurt to get a broader perspective on your health, especially if you have a condition that is puzzling your current doctors. Maybe a video consultation will change your life for the better and get you on the right track to the right treatments. If you want a fresh pair of eyes looking at your health situation, feel free to sign up to DocChat today to try a video consultation with one of our highly skilled certified physicians. Thanks for visiting! We hope you’ll come again soon.