Just Diagnosed?

You've just been diagnosed and now suddenly, you're a patient. A sick person.


While you shuffle from doctor's appointments to blood labs to the pharmacy checkout line, you might wonder how to be sick. So you Google it.

Don't Google it.

The internet can scare and confuse a new patient. It might make you wonder if you're supposed to be a stoic warrior or a self-care diva. Should you research every medical paper written about your disease or just do everything the doctor says? Is it wise to exercise or lie down? Tell your co-workers or keep it to yourself? Get a second opinion or stick with the plan?

Video not specified. Please select one to display.
Jen Singer and her cat Ben

I'm Jen Singer, a heart failure patient, cancer survivor, and seasoned medical writer for some of New York City's most prestigious hospitals.

The Just Diagnosed Guide to How to Be Sick draws on everything I've learned from 40 years of enduring illnesses, both chronic and acute, life-changing and life-threatening, into one practical guide for the newly diagnosed.

I've filtered it through my experience as a medical writer and translated the medicalese for you.

We're taught how to get healthy. Why not how to be sick?

What you need to know now that you're sick.

Here's what you'll get:

How to navigate the healthcare system depending on whether you're a "zebra" or a "horse."

The 3 things you need at every stage of your patient experience.

What you need to know at diagnosis, in treatment, in remission, or "living with" a condition.

Who gets to be in your Circles of Support.

Why listen to me?

I am a patient, too, and I know how scary and confusing it can be to navigate medical information when you're first diagnosed.

I'm also a medical writer, so I know how to synthesize information and hone in on what you really need to know now.

I have more empathy (and more humor) than "Dr. Google" typically has.

What others are saying

Melanie D.

"With grit, wit, and honesty, Jen offers hope to patients while answering questions they may fear to ask."

Rick C.

"Things medical can feel complicated and cold. Jen brings warmth and understanding that touches your very soul."

Kim K.

"Jen is that medical insider we all need to provide a buffer from the sometimes impersonal healthcare system."

Jen Singer in hospital

As a patient, I've navigated some pretty big diagnoses, sat through chemo drips, had pacemakers installed, and snagged the last of the cherry Jell-O in post-op. I've been through echocardiograms, I've seen the inside of numerous PET scan machines, and I've watched nurses search for-ow!-a suitable vein.

I've also read dry medical research papers, watched open-heart surgeries on YouTube (and that was before I had a heart condition), and deciphered the real story behind survival rates on the internet.

I'll share what you really need to know about being sick when you're just diagnosed without scaring or confusing you.