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Old 11-14-2009, 07:14 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 160
Lizardwoman85 HB User
Question How to discuss chronic illnesses with family?

So I'm young, in my early twenties and over the last year have been met with a lot of health complications. I've been slowly discovering more and more problems in tests run by my doctor and are finally almost settled on a particular diagnosis to go along with another we made this year. One is definitely life changing and making life hard for me, but not particularly dangerous towards my lifespan or anything like that. The other is really a cause for concern and is possibly causing some not so great complications. I really don't want to go into details, but it seems it is getting worse and worse and could potentially have life-threatening events in my future.

I really want to share this information with my family. I love them and want them to know exactly what is going on with me. But one is just not very open to understanding health problems and the other is very sensitive. I want them to know what is going on in case I need to be hospitalized in the near future and could use their full support.

How do I start a conversation about this? What information should I include? All of it? How can I help this understand my illnesses and potential complications?

Any help is greatly appreciated,

Old 11-15-2009, 06:29 AM   #2
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 379
almonkey HB User
Re: How to discuss chronic illnesses with family?

Family dynamics are very interesting. If you have a sibling or best friend that can help you hold a family meeting and just lay it out there you will feel better and they will appreciate being in the know. Plan this meeting before you have it. Do notecards or whatever to keep you focused and sure you have covered everything you feel you need to. You could even have a handout or leaflet to give to them to answer questions when you are done presenting. I would have an opening (the reason you are all here) Get into the facts of what this means. and close with what you ask/expect/want from them. Be prepared to answer questions and if you dont have the answers direct them to where they might find them.

Be prepared for different family dynamics. Fear that it might happen to them. Fear of what that means for them. Fear of losing you or you being hurt. Some people feel helpless unless they can help in some prepared for what you could have them do for you. Take it all for what its worth. Everyones reaction maybe different. Just remember you cant control them and you cant fix them and they cant fix you. They are human. Being prepared is your best bet. Next be ready for anything and maybe have your friend log/journal the meeting.

I believe being prepared will help alleviate everyone of your fears. If you can enlist a friend or family member to help do so. I suggest if you do this around the holidays do it before the actual holiday or after. If getting the actual family together is impossible, you could always present the entire meeting on paper. If you do this, prepare it, edit it, finish it and sit it aside for at least a week. Go back and reread it to see if anything needs changed. Being matter afact and non emotional is best when presenting the actual info.You can be as emotional as you want in your closing. I wish you the best!

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Old 11-15-2009, 08:25 AM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 160
Lizardwoman85 HB User
Re: How to discuss chronic illnesses with family?

Thank you so much for your wonderful response! I will get started getting my my information together and plan.


Old 11-17-2009, 07:13 AM   #4
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Arlington,Texas
Posts: 5
DolphinLuver HB User
Re: How to discuss chronic illnesses with family?

Hello Liz,
My sincere advice is to be 'Specific & also Honest', don't be afraid to discuss your health conditions with your family. In any health condition/problems it doesn't discriminate when it comes to age. Speaking from experience, I myself was diagnosed with many health problems at a very young age. Here's just a few Bipolar Disorder, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I'm now 48 yrs and I hear this all the time from people. 'You're so young to have so many health problems', but I DON'T let that bother me because what's important is for me is to take care of myself, and you must do the same, don't feel ashamed, scared, or embarrassed, they're your family...Another thing you can do, which is something I did, I spoke with my doctor and asked him to be present while I talked with my family, and he did..also I had a Therapist and she also did the same..them being there for support really helped me out..these are options you can use..Another thing I've had many surgeries, such as 3 knee surg, back, eye, foot, and just 3 days ago I had Rotator Cuff surgery, no matter what I never let anything get me down, yes I do get sad as times, but talking with my family & friends does help..and they're very supportive. I wish you the best, and hope that I helped in some way, because I do understand.
May you take care of yourself, don't hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions, comments, etc.. I've been totally honest in sharing this with you.

Have A Great-Day!

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