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mesothelioma support

Crucial Tips for Giving and Receiving Mesothelioma Support

mesothelioma supportIf you or someone you love has recently received a mesothelioma diagnosis, it can leave you feeling like the ground just gave out from underneath you. One moment you’re planning weekend trips and vacations with your friends and family, and the next minute you’re facing the most significant battle of your life.

Regardless of how you learn about the condition, some things are certain: Life after learning about mesothelioma will never be the same again. And while the causes of mesothelioma may be unclear to you at first, the irrevocable impact that this condition can have on your life will only become more apparent as time goes on.

While it’s completely natural to be in shock after learning that the condition has affected you or someone you love, understanding how to communicate your fears, hopes and frustrations to others during cancer treatment can be crucial in obtaining mesothelioma support.

By taking care of yourself and learning how to express your innermost needs, you can help the people around you become a better source of mesothelioma support during the trying times ahead. Consider these helpful tips to learn more about communication throughout cancer treatment.

Communication with your healthcare team
Doctors, nurses, healthcare professionals and other qualified medical staff can offer insight into mesothelioma, but sometimes, it can also seem pretty scary to open up and talk to them about how you’re really feeling, especially when it comes to a new or experimental course of mesothelioma treatment.

If you’re struggling with mesothelioma and you find yourself stumbling to find the right ways to talk to your healthcare provider about your experiences, explore ways of addressing this before your office visit.

Some people may enjoy meditating or taking deep breaths before an appointment, since these methods can help to clear away the cobwebs and allow a person to become more centered and focused before an appointment. These can also be good ways to reduce anxiety and eliminate some of the nervous tension you may be carrying around your back and shoulders as a result of stress.

Talking with family
While it can seem daunting to open up to a team of oncologists that you don’t know, overcoming this hurdle can help you learn more about different treatment options and give you the opportunity to gain more confidence, both in terms of how to manage your condition and the symptoms of it, but also in how you talk about the impact of mesothelioma with your family.

Reactions to a diagnosis and treatment plan can vary from person to person, with some individuals having harder times getting in touch with their true feelings than others.

In a family setting, this can be especially significant, because people may think that bottling up their thoughts and emotions will make the experience of managing the condition less stressful on loved ones.

However, if you begin to shut out your family and friends for mesothelioma support, you may find that they become more upset and less equipped to handle the stress of the condition in everyday life. Communicating openly about how you’re feeling can give loved ones a chance to prepare mentally and emotionally for the impact of mesothelioma over time and give them a better sense of the challenges that you face.

Searching for support groups
Your sense of self-esteem and self-worth can take a pretty bad hit after learning about mesothelioma, and problems like anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts are not uncommon among people who are facing this and other forms of cancer.

While it’s essential that you understand that you’re not burdening your close friends and family by talking about your fears, it’s understandable if you’re having a difficult time opening up to them completely.

Some people prefer to find solace in mesothelioma support groups, since the individuals who meet in these environments have faced – or have a loved one who has endured – mesothelioma.

The sense of community that you can feel by taking part in groups run by the American Cancer Society, Cancer Survivors Network, National Cancer Institute or other organizations may give you the strength to overcome your fears and prevent mesothelioma from taking over your life. But it’s very important that you research these groups fully before participating, since some lawyers may create false non-profit organizations and use them to lure people into signing contracts.

How Family Members Can Support Mesothelioma Victims

Happy Senior CoupleAt first, caring for a family member with mesothelioma can feel a little overwhelming. You might find yourself asking, Am I doing enough? Where do I start? How do I get organized? Fortunately, you’ll soon find your groove, and in the meantime there are little things you can do to make things easier for you and your loved one.

Over the years, we at Kazan, McClain, Lyons, Greenwood and Harley have spent enough time with mesothelioma patients and their families to learn that there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to support the person you love. It’s the trying that counts.

As long as you explore the best available medical and legal options, that’s a good start. However, if you find yourself exhausted, overwhelmed or at a loss for where to begin, here are some tips for supporting a loved one who has mesothelioma.

  • Use a planner, calendar or notepad. One of the most important parts of caring for someone with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is making sure they get all the necessary follow-up care. This usually means driving them to and from appointments for physical exams, blood tests and medical scans. By using a small planner or notepad, you can keep a schedule and even jot down questions you may have about care or treatment.
  • Take care of basic errands. A big side effect of both MPM and its treatments is fatigue. This means that your family member will either need help performing tasks or, in some cases, may need you to do them for him or her. Try to take care of chores and errands, even if they’re relatively minor. Buy groceries, cook meals, measure out prescriptions and, when you can, help them feed, dress and bathe themselves.
  • Get creative with food. At some point, they’ll start having to avoid solid foods and to eat things like soups, stews, broths, smoothies, shakes or Jell-O. To keep their appetite up, try to mix things up whenever you can. Experiment, and ask them if they’re craving anything.
  • Give them emotional support. Listen to them, and talk about worries or concerns. Take them to mesothelioma support groups. And of course, try to help them enjoy the little things.
  • Finally, take care of yourself! If you’re too frazzled, you won’t be much help to anyone. Be sure to take breaks, or to ask for help when you need it. And consider joining a caretakers’ support group, where you can meet and sympathize with other people in the same situation.

Related articles:

Mesothelioma Support Services and Groups: Benefits and How to Find Them

Nutritional Information for Mesothelioma or Lung Cancer Patients

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