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Episode 20: Living With and Coping With Life-Threatening Illness. An Interview with Jacob and Beanna Martinez

Every day in this country, hundreds of patients receive “bad news” from their health care provider. What is it like to be diagnosed with a life-threatening illness? What do you think about? What are your emotions? How do you cope with the associated losses such as the loss of function, a job, or a career? How do others treat you? 

Many patients in this condition say that it feels like they have a “scarlet letter” etched on their forehead but that only others can see it. They believe that others communicate with them and treat them differently once they know about the patient’s illness. Many of the patient’s “friends” stay away because they do not know what to say. Patients in this condition say that their social life becomes much smaller and that “superficial” friendships are dropped in favor of spending time with those who really count. 

Patients with life-threatening illnesses indicate that health care providers focus too much on medical and physical interventions, give too little information, appear uncomfortable talking about death, and do not include family members in conversations. Furthermore, informal caregivers (e.g. family member) report exhaustion. The informal care givers say that health care providers do not appreciate the impact of the illness on their lives and rarely consult them. Family members wish that health care providers would tell them when death is inevitable and would avoid telling them about futile medical treatments.  

Listen as host, Tim Jordan, explores these and other issues with Jacob and Beanna Martinez. How have they learned to live with and cope with life-threatening illness? Listen and find out.          

Resources for this podcast

Article to Read:  (2022). Schimming, C. Eight tips for coping with a serious diagnosis.  The Mayo Clinic Health System.

Article to Read:  (2024). Robinson, L., Segal, J., and Smith, M. Coping with a life-threatening illness or a serious life event. Illness and Disability


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Grass Roots Health is sponsored by the 1795 Group. 

Grass Roots Health is produced by Tim Jordan. Jacob and Beanna Martinez was booked by Tim Jordan. Artwork by Danielle Procopio. Audio editing and mastering by Christopher Stoll of Audio Flare Recording, Toledo, OH: design by Alex Brinkman, Green Tree Media,

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