Helping Your Partner Through a Medical Diagnosis

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Hopefully, both you and your partner live a long and happy life together without any health scares or medical bumps in the road. But unfortunately, for some couples, one partner will eventually be diagnosed with some sort of health condition that will alter their lives in a pretty significant way. Not only will this diagnosis impact their life, but it will impact yours too. So, if this were ever to happen, how can you help your partner through their diagnosis? Here are a few suggestions that could help you both.

Be Supportive

Diagnoses don’t tend to happen in a day (though sometimes they can). Instead, there’s often symptoms, speculation and a variety of tests carried out before any confirmation is given. This can be a long, draining and potentially scary period for your partner. So, you need to be supportive from the start. Generally speaking, it’s best not to speculate until a solid diagnosis has been given. Remain positive. If your partner isn’t talking about what it could be, you shouldn’t talk about it either. Take their cue. When they want to talk, talk. When they don’t, don’t. If possible, and if your partner wants, accompany them to their appointments. If you can’t go in, at least drop them there or accompany them to the healthcare facility and wait for them. This shows you care.

Understand that Different People React in Different Ways

Different people react in different ways to a diagnosis. There’s no right or wrong way of going about this. Don’t ever judge your partner for their reaction. Some people get upset. Some people get angry. Some people pretend it’s not happening. This is all normal. If you are concerned about your partner’s reaction, seek advice from medics or a therapist. You may even want to attend therapy together to fully understand both of your emotions in this situation and to learn how to manage them more healthily.

Understand Their Condition

Sometimes, people don’t want to talk about their condition. So, once you know the diagnosis, research it yourself. Ask doctors. Read online. Get to know what to expect. This can involve understanding the symptoms, knowing what treatments may be available - for example, chemotherapy vs proton cancer treatment for a cancer diagnosis - and what your partner is likely to face going forward. This can help you to better understand what they’re going through.

Help Out Where You Can

Depending on your partner’s condition, your lifestyles may be about to change - temporarily or permanently. Be prepared for this and help out wherever you can. It may seem like you’re having to put more work in now, but your partner probably needs your help right now. This could involve taking on more responsibility in the home, with children you may have, with pets you may have and more.

An unwanted diagnosis is never easy on a person or their loved ones. But hopefully some of the steps we’ve gone through can serve to help everyone.

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