Hearing the news that you have been stricken by mesothelioma cancer is a monumentally life-changing event, usually accompanied by a myriad of emotions. Some people react with anger; others are overcome by fear. Many report a feeling of numbness, perhaps while enveloped in shock and disbelief. A lot of people say that they feel disassociated from the experience completely—as though it were happening to someone else.
Regardless of the initial response, coping with a mesothelioma diagnosis is guaranteed to be a long and arduous journey; one that is marked by periods of regret, resentment, remorse—and every feeling in between.
One unavoidable truth about cancer is that it really gives you no time to decide how to feel. For the best chance of success, treatment must begin immediately—leaving little opportunity to process or cope with the changing reality it brings with it.
Mesothelioma cancer is considered to be a terminal condition, meaning that anyone diagnosed is facing a set limitation on time. This is a frightening concept for most people, even those who are in the late stages of their lives to begin with. However, certain skills can be cultivated to improve the outlook and enhance the day-to-day lives of those suffering from mesothelioma and other cancers.
Maintain normalcy. Many victims of terminal illnesses find that living their lives per the status quo is the best way to go on in the face of adversary. Routine and consistency can sometimes help ease the anxiety that an uncertain (yet certain) fate is bound to inspire.
Find support. Be it an online support group a longtime best friend—now is the time to assimilate a team of cheerleaders, caretakers and listeners to help you along your journey. Confide in friends and family, let them know what you need, and never be afraid to ask for help.
Live in the present. The concept of mindfulness describes a deliberate focus of both attention and consciousness on the present moment. Victims of mesothelioma cancer and other terminal illnesses can benefit greatly from engaging in this simple practice, as it allows them to let go of their fears and worries and instead enjoy each and every moment at hand.
Be proactive. Sometimes the best solution for feeling out-of-control is getting back in control. No, you can’t go back in time and avoid the circumstances that likely caused your illness. Nor can you heal the physical results. But there are actions that you can take to effectively improve your circumstances. The most important of these is participating in the best available medical treatment. Another is working with an asbestos cancer attorney to pursue a settlement through legal recourse, which will help cover your medical and other associated expenses.
Practice forgiveness. It is easy to retreat into anger, especially when another has personally harmed you. In the case of mesothelioma cancer, the most obvious targets for resentment are those responsible for the circumstances that exposed you to asbestos. But anger is ineffective and generally causes more harm to the harbor than it does to the target. Let go of toxic emotions and leave blame for the legal arena, where it has the opportunity to be productive.