AfterShock: what to do when the doctor gives you -- or someone you love -- a devastating diagnosis, Jessie Gruman Ph.D.

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Family and friends

I wrote AfterShock for people who have received a serious medical diagnosis to help them through the distress during those initial few weeks after they receive the news.

Despite the fact that every sentence of the book is addressed toward the person who has been diagnosed, this book as also for you, the family and friends of that person. You are also shocked. You may be in despair. Being plunged into this chaotic world of acute specialty medical care may be just as confusing for you as it is for your loved one. And in the midst of this, you may need to take on unfamiliar responsibilities to ensure that your loved one gets the care that will allow her to live for as well as she can for as long as she can.

While every person - and every family - handles this kind of crisis in a different way, it is often the case that family members and friends do many of the tasks required to respond to the diagnosis: finding doctors, scheduling tests, making sure test results get sent to the right place, telling the news to other family members and friends, and so on.

AfterShock lays out the work to be done and provides you with choices about how you and your loved one can divide up responsibilities. It provides strategies for finding good health care. It describes some of the dynamics that come into play among family members and friends when someone experiences a health crisis. And it recognizes your critical role in helping and supporting the person with the diagnosis as he makes some of the most important decisions of his life.

I hope it is helpful to you, and I wish you the best in the coming days.