Bereavement, Loss, and Grief (cont.)
In this Article
Grief and the phases of a life-threatening illness
1. The phase before the diagnosis: The phase before the diagnosis of a life-threatening illness is the period of time just before the diagnosis when a person realizes that he or she may develop an illness. This phase is not usually a single moment, but extends throughout the period when the person has a physical examination, including various tests, and ends when the person is told of the diagnosis.
2. The acute phase: The acute phase occurs at the time of the diagnosis when a person is forced to understand the diagnosis and make decisions about his or her medical care.
3. The chronic phase: The chronic phase is the period of time between the diagnosis and the result of treatment. It is the period when a patient tries to cope with the demands of life while also undergoing treatment and coping with the side effects of treatment. In the past, the period between a cancer diagnosis and death usually lasted only a few months, and this time was usually spent in the hospital. Today, people can live for years after being diagnosed with cancer.
4. The recovery or death phase: In the recovery phase people cope with the mental, social, physical,
religious, and financial effects of cancer.