Understanding the impact of a diagnosis.


Abbigail Langstone- Wring. BSc  FETC  MAR FHT CThA                

 A patient recently asked me “When are you thinking of retiring” ? I thought for a moment and replied “That can mostly depend on what kind of day I have had. On good a day never, on a bad day to-morrow” I thought about my reply later that same day and realised just how fortunate I am to be surrounded by a loving and supportive family, to be in good health that allows me still to be passionately involved in my work after 25 plus years.  So realistically reflecting on the question, and putting the record straight, until situations change I have no intention of retiring. I am launching a group of reflexology workshops this year. Although, after 7 years as a volunteer I have resigned as a Community Complementary Practitioner for Weldmar Hospicecare Trust. And appropriately enough as International Womens  Day was march 8th I am choosing to concentrate my fundraising activities for the local Womens Refuge organizing the Come Dine With Me and supporting the Bandanas Breast Cancer Support Group Weymouth.

Other people do not have my choices. When people are diagnosed with a life changing condition the impact of that diagnosis affects their mental and physical wellbeing and that of those close to them. The shock of diagnosis may traumatise an individual to such an extent that they can become irrational in their thoughts and behaviour. They may experience a range of emotions, denial, anger, frustration ( and many more ) and  fear, the most stress/anxiety producing emotion of them all. These feelings will in turn trigger physical responses. Headaches, digestive and respiratory difficulties, muscle aches, spasms and pain. Pain is the body’s way of letting you know something is wrong. The Stress/Pain cycle can in chronic conditions become embedded and difficult to break and sometimes the best we can do is manage it. Working with it and when ready moving on.

The following conversation describes a series of emotions and physical reactions that illustrates this stress/pain cycle. “ A rabbit caught in the headlights” is how a patient described how they felt on hearing a cancer diagnosis.  My head was spinning, I felt very hot and sweaty, suddenly I couldn’t breathe, my heart felt as if it was jumping out of my chest and blood pounding in my ears, my mouth went dry and then I felt physically sick” The patient continued “The rest of the consultation with the Dr might well have been in a foreign language for all I took in” The patient carried on “ when outside of the Dr’s room I felt weak and very wobbly, pain shooting through my body then the tears came, my friend guided me to a chair I sat totally in shock”

Every individual will react differently when placed in this kind of situation, however, I’m sure most readers can relate in some way to the emotions expressed. If you or you know of someone that is trying to cope with chronic pain or that you think I might be able to help. ©AW/2018           Please contact me at 01305 784986 or for advice on how to manage stress dip into my “Holistic Health Tips” book £9.00 incl p&p from Buena Vista Gypsy Lane Weymouth DT4 0BZ