Coming to terms with Mesothelioma… Sarah Wilson

Coming to Terms with Mesothelioma

 According to research, roughly 3,000 people are diagnosed with mesothelioma every year. The three types of mesothelioma are pleural, peritoneal, and pericardial, but the most common one is pleural. Pleural mesothelioma usually strikes people who were exposed to asbestos in the workforce. Regardless of the type of mesothelioma, this rare disease can cause serious symptoms. Along with causing many physical symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, weight loss, and dry cough, mesothelioma can also take a mental and emotional toll on its victims. Fortunately, expert medical care, excellent traditional and complementary therapies, and a strong support system can assist patients with overcoming these challenging side effects. 

 After people hear that they have been diagnosed with cancer, it’s completely normal for them to experience a wide range of intense emotions including anger, depression, fear, anxiety, stress, and confusion. As these unavoidable emotions surface, some people may slowly isolate themselves because they feel like no one really understands what they are going through. During the midst of treatment, such patients are often afraid to talk with friends and family members about their feelings for fear of being judged.  Instead of resorting to social isolation, people suffering from mesothelioma should consider joining a support group, talking to a close loved one, and/or reaching out to an experienced counselor. These measures should help patients conquer their depression. 

 Many mesothelioma patients decide to receive chemotherapy for treatment, but unfortunately, this drug can affect cognitive function in a drastic way. The effects of chemotherapy may include difficulty multitasking, extremely slow thought processing, and trouble remembering simple things like words, dates, and names. These challenging symptoms are often referred to as “chemo brain.” If mesothelioma patients notice any of these symptoms of chemo brain, they should inform their doctor immediately. 

Self-care is critically important for Mesothelioma patients, their caregivers and their loved ones. These self-care measures include physical treatments. They include emotional and support activities. Spiritual self-care is important as well. With Mesothelioma, as well as other major health conditions, it is not merely the body but the whole person who is ill. Treatment must involve the whole self as well.

Although mesothelioma is a rare cancer, victims do not have to battle this disease alone. Once patients understand the mental and emotional symptoms of the disease, they can talk with their doctor to reduce some of these side effects. In addition, patients can seek support from family and friends so that they are never isolated, but close loved ones should also make sure that they take care of themselves during this difficult journey. There are numerous grief counseling and therapy services available to support family and friends throughout this challenging process when a loved one passes. These great resources have been proven to help loved ones grieve in a healthy and positive way.

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