A woman's head and shoulders are overlapped by a giant dark speech bubble bearing bad news, totally overwhelming the peaceful colors of the rest of her surroundings.

The Shock of Being Diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease

I will never forget the feeling I had when my gastroenterologist said: “You have Crohn’s disease.” 

I was 21 years old, extremely healthy up until that point, and had no clue what Crohn’s disease was.

The word disease scared me.

Once I heard that word, I zoned out and began to panic. I got lost in my thoughts. I kept thinking: This is a mistake. I don’t have a disease. I am healthy and young. There’s no way I have a disease.

I was just diagnosed with Crohn's... What?

The shock of it all was so hard to process in that moment. Thankfully my mother was with me to offer support but she was mostly quiet, as neither of us could fathom that I indeed had an incurable disease.

Learning that you have Crohn’s is life-changing. It is difficult to process and completely overwhelming. So many emotions flood your body and you truly don’t know what to do with it all.

I was diagnosed in 2011, so I don’t remember precisely how that day went from moment to moment. But I will never forget how I felt at the moment of hearing the news of my diagnosis. The shock that went through me was so intense. And I even remember feeling angry towards my gastroenterologist. Isn’t that something?

Angry at the delivery of my Crohn's diagnosis

It got me angry that he was giving me such bad news. I was angry that, at that moment, he had all this power to change my life with his words. I resented him. It was as though I associated the disease with him and I just wanted him out of my sight immediately.

I also didn’t like his delivery. He was so dry and way too matter-of-fact. It was like he was talking about a change in weather – his casual approach was off-putting.

In hindsight, I wish doctors had more training in delivering life-changing news to a patient. The moment in which a patient finds out he or she has an incurable illness is incredibly delicate. There must be major wisdom behind the approach.

Everything must be studied and thought out. A doctor’s tone of voice, body language, the location in which the message will be delivered, who will be in the room, and beyond are details that are crucial to think about. Everything matters in that moment because the patient will be experiencing an out-of-body experience.

Just a diagnosis wasn't enough

Unfortunately, I don’t feel as though doctors take these things into account. I definitely know that I feel like my personal moment of finding out my diagnosis could have been dealt with in a more sensitive manner. 

I also believe a therapist should be seen at some point after such a monumental diagnosis so that mental health can be addressed. Let’s face it, shock will set in at lightning speed and there needs to be professional help offered to deal with it.

How about you? Do you feel as though the moment you were given your Crohn's diagnosis that your doctor was prepared to deliver the life-changing message? Share below, we love to hear from you.

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