Coping with health issues of any kind is never an easy process, but being diagnosed with a terminal disease such as malignant mesothelioma is especially difficult for victims and their families. Even under the best circumstances, patients diagnosed with mesothelioma are still uncertain of just how many remaining years they may have. If your doctor tells you that you’ve been diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer, you’ll probably feel anxious, depressed, and frightened. You may even feel a sense of hopelessness and worry about the loved ones you will leave behind.
Over $30 billion has been set aside in trust funds to help victims and their loved ones cope with the financial and emotional impact that comes with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis. Fill out our form to get a free Financial Compensation Packet. You’ll learn about the top mesothelioma lawyers in your area, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file a claim for the asbestos trust funds, and more.
Educating Yourself About Mesothelioma
One of the first things that you should consider doing after being diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer is to find out as much as you can about the disease, how it’s treated, and what factors determine your own quality of life issues and survival rate. Once the initial shock wears off, consider asking your doctor specific questions about the cancer. You may want to know such things as:
Where is the exact location of the asbestos cancer in my body?
What stage of development is my mesothelioma in?
Is my cancer treatable with surgery?
Has my mesothelioma metastasized to other parts of my body?
What are the available mesothelioma treatments?
What other tests or procedures do I need to have done?
What are the pros and cons of the various cancer treatments?
Can anyone in my family get mesothelioma cancer?
It’s a good idea to have a close friend or family member accompany you to the doctor visits during these post-diagnosis appointments. Not only can another person help you think of questions to ask your physician, but he or she can provide much-needed emotional support.
Though you may feel apprehensive about this educational process, you will discover that the more informed you are about mesothelioma, you will feel less anxious or hopeless.
Keep in mind that while there is currently no cure, there are treatments that can ease the symptoms of mesothelioma and give you much more time to spend with friends and loved ones. Learning about what your healthcare provider can do during the treatment and what you can expect will better prepare you to cope with all the things that come with being a mesothelioma victim.
Communication, Not Isolation
Though you may feel the need to shield your friends and loved ones from your emotions, especially negative ones such as sadness or anger, keep in mind that this may make the process more difficult. Pretending that nothing bad has happened or putting up a facade of false cheer may end up hurting you in the long run as you won’t have an outlet to share your experiences and frustrations.
Instead, leading psychiatrists recommend that mesothelioma patients be honest with everyone, even your doctor, and express how you are feeling. Do not let relatives or close friends try to protect you from bad news. Such attempts to bolster your spirits will usually backfire and leave you isolated.
The best thing to do for yourself is to keep the lines of communication open and remember that in situations such as this, emotional honesty is the best policy. It is perfectly acceptable to want to withdraw from family and friends and find your own solace, but keep in mind that eventually it’s recommended that you seek out some sort of support, whether through family or friends or through a support group.
Because getting a mesothelioma diagnosis can be devastating, you should consider finding a support group to help you cope emotionally. While it is true that emotional and financial support can be received from family and friends, there are various outside sources of assistance available to mesothelioma patients that may help you to cope with your situation better.
Local and State Agencies: For practical support for the challenges of living with mesothelioma, you may wish to contact your local or state government and request home care services. Your local government health care agency may authorize visits by a nurse or a physical therapist to your home. Other types of assistance may include housekeeping assistance, escort to medical appointments, and caregiver respite assistance to overwhelmed family members. In addition, you may wish to seek help from a non-profit group such as Easter Seals. Easter Seals and similar entities are community-based health agencies geared to helping persons with disabilities and serious illnesses maintain their dignity, independence, and quality of life.
Support Groups: For emotional assistance, you should consider getting in touch with support groups geared specifically toward cancer and mesothelioma victims. The makeup and focus of such groups varies widely. For example, some are led by professional behavioral health specialists such as psychologists or social workers, while others are peer or self-help groups directed by other mesothelioma patients. In both types of support group, while the specific points of discussion or methodology may differ, the desired result is the same: to allow you to express your fears and hopes in a setting where other members know what you’re going through.
Religious Organizations: If you need spiritual guidance, local religious organizations or leaders can assist you deal with weighty matters such as grief counseling, coping with death, physical and emotional pain, and the meaning of life. Your local church or synagogue can refer you to clergy who are well prepared in these matters.
Getting Legal Help
Don’t forget to fill out our form to get our free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information on the leading asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys in your area. For additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.