Coping with Mesothelioma

Oct 13, 2014
Tagged with: Coping with Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a serious form of cancer. The disease causes tumors to grow in the membranes that surround the organs. It occurs most often in the chest, but it can occur in any part of the body where these membranes occur. The cancer can also metastasize, or spread, to other parts of the body. In the early stages the disease can cause fatigue and respiratory complications; in the later stages the disease can cause damage to the nerves leading to a variety of dysfunctions. If the disease metastasizes, it can cause further disabling symptoms depending on where it spreads. Additionally, some of the treatments used to manage the disease can also be strenuous.

Because both the disease and the treatments can be complicated, and because there is no cure, patients need to find ways to cope with mesothelioma.

Learn About the Disease

Mesothelioma is considered a rare form of cancer, which means not much is known about the disease. While doctors believe that inhaling or ingesting asbestos is the primary cause of the disease, they are still not completely clear on how the disease forms, or why it can take up to 50 years after exposure for someone to get sick. The mysterious nature of the disease can often make patients feel out of control, causing stress and depression. Reading up on the latest research on the disease, and sharing that information with their doctors can help patients feel in control of their lives and their health.

Seek Out Others

Having a terminal disease can make someone feel isolated and hopeless. Seeking out others with the same disease can create a sense of community and hope. Also, different people will have different experiences and different levels of knowledge about the disease; meeting with others can broaden patients’ horizons and teach them about treatment options and research advances that they might not hear of otherwise.

Seek Legal Help

Because asbestos is considered the primary cause of mesothelioma, people who have worked in environments where asbestos was handled could be eligible for compensation. The same applies to people who shared households with asbestos workers; because the material could cling to the worker’s clothing and skin, they could carry it home and expose others in the household. If you believe you have been exposed to asbestos in this manner, you can talk to a lawyer about joining an existing lawsuit, or get information on how to start a mesothelioma lawsuit of your own. Getting legal help could get patients and their families the funds they need to cover medical bills, or replace income lost due to illness.

Seek Psychological Help

Even with access to support groups, patients may need one-on-one guidance from a licensed and experienced medical professional. Also, a psychiatrist can prescribe medications, such as anti-anxiety drugs and antidepressants, to help patient cope with the stress, depression, and anxiety associated with being sick.

Seek Lifestyle Help

Patients may need to make lifestyle changes to manage their disease. These changes could include:

  • Quitting smoking;
  • Reducing alcohol consumption;
  • Dietary changes; and
  • Changes in certain activities, such as working fewer hours or adopting an exercise program.

Patients can consult with experts to help them affect and maintain these changes. If they are adopting an exercise program, such as yoga to manage stress, they can work with personal trainers who have experience with people with disabilities to help design a program that will benefit them without aggravating their disease.

Write it All Down

Journaling has several health benefits. It can help patients clarify their thoughts and get to know themselves better, it reduces stress, and helps them solve problems more effectively. Spending just a few minutes a day writing in a journal can help patients cope better with all of the stresses associated with having mesothelioma. For patients participating in lawsuit, journaling is also a great way for them to organize their memories for when they testify or give a deposition.   Have you been affected by Mesothelioma?

Author: Chris Meloni