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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.

Disclosure: Sharing With Family, Friends, and Acquaintances

How To Prepare Before You Tell

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Don't have any preconceived notions of how any particular person will take the news. There is no way to predict how any person will receive the news.

  • Be prepared for all possible reactions, from what you hope the reaction will be, to what you expect it to be, to a disappointing or negative reaction. People have even known to be angry.
    • Lower your expectations. Keep them reasonable.
    • Be patient. It can take time to absorb the news.
    • Talk about your fears - and theirs. 
    • Think about who to turn to for support if you are unduly affected by the reaction.
  • Expect a flood of emotions from both of you. Be ready to help the person "come to grips with your news," however difficult that process might be.
  • Be prepared for people you talk to telling other people without your knowledge or approval.

When you think about what you want to say:

  • At least make it clear that you desire to be treated as a person living with a disease, not as a victim, and not as the disease. You are the same person you were. Your priorities may be shifting, but who you are has not shifted. (To learn more, see: You Are Not Your Condition.)
  • It may not seem fair to think that putting other people at ease about your health is part of your job, but it often is. Telling is likely to stir up the listener's own mortality issues.
  • Think about the information you've learned about your health condition in general, and where you are specifically, at least to the extent that the facts are known at the time you want to tell. You don't have to divulge the same amount of information to everyone. You can pick and choose who you tell what.

To help people understand, it is helpful to educate them. Instead of educating people yourself, you can:

  • Gather simple educational materials you can give people.
  • Identify a web site you find particularly easy to understand and navigate.
  • Think about what disease specific non-profit organization to refer people to.

Understand that your health condition can affect roles in the family. The caregiver may need care. The breadwinner may need other people to go to work or increase their work hours. Interactions are likely to change as roles change.

Don't expect your relationships with people to be normal for a while. It may be a while before they talk about their own problems again. The thought that they might lose you can be very difficult for some people to bear. Give people time to digest what you tell them and to adjust to the news.

If thinking about telling provokes heavy anxiety, keep in mind that you don't have to do the lifting yourself. You can:

  • Discuss these issues with a close friend or family member.
  • Have someone with you when you tell.
  • Ask a person close to you to tell other people about your condition.

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