A mesothelioma diagnosis is tough to process; what follows is utter confusion. Thinking about what to do next and how to cope with the disease is an important step toward improving life.
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is cancer caused by exposure to asbestos – a naturally occurring mineral fiber known for its strength, durability, insulation, and fire-proof nature. The extensively useful properties of the fiber made it a go-to component for materials in the construction, equipment, and military industries. But inhaling these microfibrils later became known to be bad for health. The cancer primarily develops in the lining of organs and is incurable. Exposure takes years to manifest itself as a disease, by which time it’s almost always too late for recovery. Hence, it’s rare, usually not part of regular screenings, and patients typically have a lifespan of 18 to 24 months after diagnosis.
Today, the use of asbestos has been banned in most parts. Patients can still seek compensation for treatment by contacting lawyers and asbestos trust funds. The average settlement amounts come up to $1 million but vary on the case and cause. Regardless, securing financial compensation can make managing the condition more straightforward. Some other helpful tips include:
Knowing your diagnosis:
Once diagnosed with mesothelioma, you have all the right to know everything about the disease. No question is stupid, so ask your doctor everything, including available treatment options. Be as comfortable with yourself as you possibly can, jot down every question you have, and ask away.
Being ready will make it easier to cope with the entire situation later. Be prepared for all the changes the disease can have on you and your lifestyle as a patient. If your loved one is the patient, you should still be ready to make adjustments. Ask your medical practitioner what to expect ahead, what alterations have to be made to your lifestyle, and the risks and challenges.
Know that whatever you feel is legit, and there is nothing wrong. However, one thing that might help is expressing yourself. Unless you tell people, no one around you will know what you are going through. Share your fears, difficulties, and feelings so your loved ones can help you. It will also make it easier for everyone to understand you and your struggles.
Ask for help:
It is okay to ask for help. People around you will be honored and happy to help you. Your family and friends will ensure you are comfortable. There is no shame in asking for assistance. They can run errands, take you to doctors’ appointments, help you with chores, and even prepare meals. Ask for help with medication if you are forgetful with minor details.
Figure out your finances:
A mesothelioma diagnosis can bring up many unexpected financial changes. These include loss of wages, treatment costs, hospital fees, transportation, and many more miscellaneous costs. So you must plan and see how you can manage your finances. Do you have insurance that covers any part of your treatment? Do you need to take time off work? Are you eligible for mesothelioma compensation? Contact a lawyer who can help you score money for your treatment from an asbestos trust fund or a previous employer at fault.
Instead of focusing on all the disease’s adverse effects on you, look at the silver lining. Be positive towards every action, be mindful and enjoy everything to the fullest. This means choosing to be an optimist rather than a pessimist. Focus your concentration on your well-being and what you can do right now to keep yourself as healthy as possible. Appreciate the time you have and the positive experiences, and focus more on the bright side of life. Look at how lucky you are to have a family that cares and friends that protect.
Do what you enjoy:
Devote some time to whatever hobby that helps you divert your mind from your illness. Meditation, painting, music, guided imagery, long walks, and traveling are just a few hobbies you can pick up. These hobbies may help you relax when you’re stressed and overwhelmed with your condition. Check things off of your bucket list, read, write, photograph, just be happy and content, and live to the fullest!
Being active keeps your focus divided, and you think less about your cancer and all the worries it brings. Go out for walks, exercise, and build your stamina, but don’t try to be upbeat when you’re not feeling it. But be sure to consult your doctor about how much physical activity is okay for you. Treatment can be exhausting, and you wouldn’t want to burn yourself out.
Focus on what is in your control:
With the disease, people often feel like they are not in control of their lives. However, small steps can prove otherwise. Putting your life in order, showing up for appointments on time, and changing your lifestyle are some actions you can control. Even small things such as setting up a daily schedule, menu, and chore list can make you feel in control.
Talk to other people with mesothelioma:
It makes one feel much more comfortable talking and sharing things with people going through the same situations as yourself. It gives a sense of understanding and relatability. Listening to the stories and processes of others also helps you re-evaluate your coping strategies and give you an insight into the procedures and treatment options. You can join a support group, or if you have someone in your circle who has cancer can also be a very good support system.
It is important to understand that what you’re going through is not easy, and it takes a truly brave person to fight a disease like mesothelioma. What helped and comforted you through rough times before will likely help you now. No matter if it’s a favorite activity, religious ritual, close friend, or family. Turn to things that make you comfortable and slowly incorporate and be open to trying new coping strategies.