Newly diagnosed? Don’t despair

"It's __________.," your doctor said definitively. "I have what?" you respond. Anyone who has just been diagnosed with a medical condition or disease knows only too well the shock and dismay that inevitably tend to accompany such news.

"What do I do now?" you ask yourself, loved ones and friends. "Where do I go from here?"

Don't hesitate to ask your physican where to find credible medical information about your condition, in print and/or online. It's important to educate yourself.

The Des Plaines Public Library can help, too. Let us serve as a guide.

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We have almost two dozen books on the fourth floor geared specifically to the recently diagnosed. They cover a range of physical and mental conditions--from breast cancer to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Also, from the library's home page you can go to our Health page, which contains links to Very Short Introductions and Virtual Reference Library, two electronic databases where you can search for information about what you have. Articles in still another database, Master File Premier, can be accessed from our home page.

(If you have a Des Plaines Public Library card, you can use nearly all of our subscription databases remotely, or outside of the library.)

And don't forget the magazines in print, such as Diabetic Living and Simply Gluten Free, on the third floor.

But that's not all.

For many, if not most, diseases/conditions, there is at least one corresponding organization to assist you in navigating the often unnerving post-diagnosis period. Such groups, be they an association, society, foundation, etc., introduce you to a community of support designed to help you feel less alone, less isolated. Moreover, these organizations can serve as a valuable source of information about your particular condition.

For example, the Alzheimer's Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, the Celiac Disease Foundation, the National Parkinson Foundation, and the Prostate Cancer Association. And many, many, more. Please see the following links to find the right organization for you:

In addition, our library provides the online edition of the Encyclopedia of Associations. Again, go to the home page to get started.

Chances are, as you incorporate your new physical or mental condition into your life, your perspective will change. Put another way, in a year or so (hopefully less), you likely will no longer view your condition the same way you did at the time of diagnosis. It will only be new once. 

Until then, please remember that help is all around you. Just don't put off asking.

If you need assistance with finding information, contact the adult reference services desk on the fourth floor. Phone: 847-376-2841. Email:

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