Chapter 6

Getting a Diagnosis

In This Chapter

arrow Working through the stages to gain a diagnosis

arrow Understanding what happens post diagnosis

arrow Planning ongoing care

Very often, not knowing what’s wrong with you, or someone you care for, is worse than actually knowing. That may sound a bit odd because, for example, not knowing you have cancer is surely a better state to be in than being told you have the diagnosis. Without the information you’re just a person with a few symptoms, but once you have a diagnosis you’re a cancer patient, with operations, chemotherapy or radiotherapy ahead of you and a rough answer to the inevitable question: how long have I got left?

But as many of my patients who themselves have been given all manner of difficult diagnoses have testified, once a set of symptoms has a name, once you’ve been told that you have this or that disease, you and your family know what you’re up against. In fact, people often say that the worry of not knowing is far worse than the worry associated with knowing what’s wrong.

With a label to your illness comes a treatment plan, the knowledge that medical teams are going to do their best to look after you, and if not make you better then ...

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