When you’re diagnosed with mesothelioma, your life changes forever. For at least the early months, your time and energy will probably revolve around all the medical appointments required for diagnosis and treatments. Even after that early whirlwind of activity, though, living with mesothelioma will require some adjustments and added support. These are some of tactics and resources to help you understand what to expect, and what you can do to make your life easier as you go through this difficult and challenging time.
Mesothelioma symptoms causes pain, discomfort and restrict your ability to move and go about your daily life. Unfortunately, chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, most often used to treat mesothelioma, may make you feel even sicker, at least temporarily. Understanding and recognizing this can help you prepare to deal with it in advance. Building a strong support network, either of your friends or through support groups, can make all the difference in the world to help you get through the day.
- There will be days when you are too exhausted to do or deal with anything. Cancel plans, cut visits short, and ask friends for help with things that must be done.
- If you live alone, arrange to have someone stay with you or check in on you regularly to help you with physical things you can’t manage.
- Take full advantage of medical resources, such as visiting nurses, home health aides like mesothelioma hospice care, and home care workers. Not only will they help you with daily activities, they can reduce the strain on your partner and other family members.
- Maintain communication with your doctor and mesothelioma treatment team, and be open and honest with them. Your treatment team will work with you to adjust medications for nausea and pain relief, and may offer referrals to alternative therapies that other patients have found useful.
Feeling sick all the time takes a toll on your emotional and mental health as well as your physical health. In addition to the day-to-day realities, you may also be facing existential questions and questions about the future. Nothing can relieve all of your anxieties and fears – many of them are based on reality, after all – but there are things you can do to help you face them and deal with them.
- Take advantage of mesothelioma support groups for both you and your caregivers. No one understands what you’re going through better than someone who is also dealing with the same challenges and experiences. Who else can tell you where to find the medical supplies you need at half the price, or laugh with you at something ludicrous that you’d never share with someone who wouldn’t understand?
- Communicate with your family and friends as openly as you comfortably can. If your significant other’s optimistic, cheerful attitude makes you fear disappointing them, let them know that. Talking about your feelings and your thoughts can help you work through things and ease stresses that make living with a mesothelioma diagnosis so stressful.
- Consider a mind-body therapy to help with emotional balance. Many mesothelioma patients and survivors find that yoga, tai chi, music therapy and other alternative medical treatments help them restore balance – and may also provide physical benefits.
- Exercise if your doctor permits it. Maintaining some level of physical activity not only benefits you physically, it can also help you with stress reduction.
- Shut people out. There will be days when you don’t want to deal with anyone or anything. Don’t be afraid to let your friends and family know that this isn’t a good day for you and you need your rest.
- Accept that people want to help. It’s so easy to feel like you’re suddenly a burden on people around you, and they’re doing you favors when they help you. In reality, many of them are feeling helpless in the face of a devastating disease. Allowing them to help you in practical ways is, very honestly, a gift to them.
Financial Resources for Mesothelioma
Among the most difficult challenges of dealing with mesothelioma is the financial cost of treatments. Luckily, there are resources that can help you and your family access the treatments and other things you need. In addition to your own insurance, you may be able to access trust funds set aside specifically for people with mesothelioma. There are advocates who can help you find those funds and apply for them, as well as lawyers who specialize in helping you get payments for the treatments you need. In addition, there are special resources set aside for U.S. veterans, who make up a disproportionate number of those diagnosed with mesothelioma. Finally, many cancer treatment centers have financial offices that can help you find organizations that can help you pay for treatment and other things you need to get adequate health care and after care for mesothelioma.
Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with Mesothelioma and would like help with health and legal services? Call us at (855) 970-9988 for help today.