Getting the best out of life
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- Being diagnosed with a terminal illness
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Being diagnosed with a terminal illness
Being diagnosed with a terminal illness can be devastating for you as an individual and shattering for family and friends.
When life is limited, many people reassess what is most important to them and consider how they want to live during the time they have left. The personal wishes and choices can be as varied as we all are as individuals. Some people take comfort in normality while others choose to explore new challenges.
At this difficult time, it can be important to remember that there is still life ahead. Most people with terminal illnesses continue to have joyful experiences, whether they carry on living as normal or undertake new adventures. By talking to your medical team and chatting to your family you can make the right choices so that you get the very best of your life during palliative care.
Enjoying familiarity and routine
For many people the structure and safety of their normal life can provide solace. Continuing to work, enjoy hobbies and family life can be reassuring at a time of great uncertainty. If this is important to you, it is a good idea to talk to your health care team, your family and your employer to see how you can maintain your lifestyle.
Some flexibility will be necessary for times when you are feeling weak and unwell or need hospital treatment. However, with care, understanding and the right support in place you should be able to continue to enjoy your regular routines and rituals for as long as possible.
New choices and challenges
For some people, being told they have a life limiting condition can give them a new lease of life. It can provide the stimulus to do all the things they had previously dreamed of: travelling to new places, trying new challenges, meeting new people and generally living life to the full.
The ‘bucket list’ has become a popular way of making the most of the time available. It’s a list of things to do before you die, including places to visit, foods to eat, experiences to try and things to see. Whether it’s viewing the northern lights, eating an oyster, revisiting a honeymoon haunt or even completing a marathon think about what is important to you and the ones you love.
Something to remember
When you have a terminal illness, you have the time to say your goodbyes or to leave a legacy for those that you care for. You can get back in contact with lost friends and family, make peace with people you have argued with and complete any unfinished business.
Many people like to create memory boxes containing letters, photos and treasured objects. You could also record messages or make short films so that those who are left behind know how important they were to you. A few words can be a great comfort to the bereaved and can be a precious memory after your death.
There is no ‘right’ way to live, or to die. The best choice is the one that suits you and your family and friends. Discuss what you want with those that you love and with your doctor or palliative care nurse. You can work together to achieve the very best quality of life and continue to live with comfort, dignity and joy.
Find out more about the range of palliative care services that we offer throughout London.