Living with a diagnosis of Mesothelioma can be very emotionally difficult to deal with. Understandably, you may be feeling upset and confused as it is not uncommon for Mesothelioma to be diagnosed at an advanced stage. Here are five tips to help you or anyone else cope with Mesothelioma:
1: Coping with your feelings.
Everyone has a different reaction when they learn that they have Mesothelioma. A wide range of feelings and emotions such as confusion, upset , worried, depression, shock, fear, denial, anger, negativity, etc. And it is not uncommon for people to feel relieved on learning they have Mesothelioma as they feel it is better to know than not know at all.
Just because you are having different feelings to others (or to the ones listed above) does not mean that you are not coping. There is no text book way to cope with Mesothelioma. The feelings you experience are naturally right for you so do not compare your feelings with anyone else.
2: Finding others to talk to.
Your family and friends may find it hard to talk with each other about Mesothelioma. This is not unusual as they may be scared of frightening you or make it more difficult to talk about in the future. Most Mesothelioma patients feel that a problem shared is a problem halved. In some cases, patients feel it is best just to be listened to and know that someone is there if a ‘good pair of listening ears’ is needed. Get the subject out in the open.
3: How to tell children.
It is never easy to tell children about Mesothelioma, even more difficult if they are small. Most patients will have small children, young relatives or the children of friends in their lives.
If the child you need to speak with is very small, start off by explaining that the person in question is very poorly. If the child is a little older, it is a good idea to explain Mesothelioma cancer as good cells and bad cells in the body. It is also a good idea if you know a little about Mesothelioma or cancer but overall, try to keep it simple.
You will also need to listen to the questions of the child and answer them the best you can without trying to upset them too much. Starting off with small bits of information and building up to the bigger picture as time goes on is a good way to go.
But don’t keep any secrets. Children are good at telling when something is not right and it may be harder for them to cope with uncertainty that it would be coping with the truth.
As adults, it can be natural to try and protect children from the truth but children can pick up on unusual comings and goings and will feel left out. Keep them informed, even if it is with just little snippets of information..
If possible, try to have a word with the childs school teacher to let them know that someone close to them is ill. Hopefully, the teacher will keep an eye on the child in case of any changes in the childs behaviour.
4. What can you do?
A feeling of helplessness is not unusual when someone is first told that they have Mesothelioma. Try and learn to understand Mesothelioma as this will help you and your family to take action and know what to expect. It is best to talk to a professional such as your doctor if you need more information as they will be able to advise you on your specific case which is always better than getting general information about Mesothelioma from a book or the internet. Be sure to take a list of questions to save time for you and your doctor.
It may be a good idea to see if there are any local support groups you can join. Finding people going through a similar experience as yourself can help you cope. Your doctor or hospital will be able to let you know if there are any support groups near to you.
As you are having treatment, you will find that you may not be able to do as much as you would like on a day to day basis. Once you start to feel a little better, try and do some simple tasks and do a little more each day. This will help with confidence but always remember not to over do things.
A lot of patients try to fight Mesothelioma by planning a healthy diet, learning relaxation techniques and taking regular exercise. You don’t have to do this, only if you would like to try it. The last thing you need are more dramatic changes in your life if you’re not ready for them. But if you do decide to give exercise a go, start slowly and set realistic targets. You will have good days and bad days so always plan your activity on how you feel on the day.
5: Who else can help?
More support can come from your GP if needed and hospitals can give advice and support through cancer nurses and specially trained staff will advise you on any worries you may have.
For financial help, check any insurance policies you have to see if you are covered. It is also advisable to seek financial help from your local welfare office if needed.
Sometimes it is nice to talk with someone who has nothing to do with Mesothelioma. You may want to try counselling or if you’re religious, speaking with a local minister or anyone else involved in your faith.