Coping with a diagnosis of mesothelioma is bound to be a trying and daunting task for anyone—but the good news is that there are many tools and resources available to you, which are engineered to assist with the process. Coping will naturally mean different things for different people, but a couple of the most commonly effective means to that end (as well as the tools to help you achieve them) are outlined in the sections below.
Learn All You Can About What a Diagnosis of Mesothelioma Means
Learning about mesothelioma and, specifically, what a mesothelioma diagnosis means for you can often serve as the first all-important step in the coping process. General information about the disease is available from a variety of sources, many of them easily accessible online. Be sure that you trust only reputable sources to gain vital knowledge about your condition. Non-profit organizations like the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation can provide you with a wealth of general information about mesothelioma.
For specific information about what a diagnosis of mesothelioma means for you and your individual case, you’ll need to rely on your physician and the medical specialist team that has been charged with your care. Usually, you will have been referred upon diagnosis to a cancer specialist (called an oncologist) that will provide you with information about the details of your illness. For instance, you will be able to gain information about the location (or locations), stage and general severity of your cancer. Factors like your age and overall health affect your individual mesothelioma prognosis, as well as the treatment options available to you, so only your doctor(s) can give you the whole story of your particular case.
Find Support Through Professionals and Fellow Victims Alike
When it comes to seeking support while coping with a diagnosis of mesothelioma, your immediate support network—made up of family, friends and other loved ones—will of course be key.
Other sources of mesothelioma help are also available. Many people find that the fellowship and emotional support found through groups made up of other mesothelioma victims plays a tremendous role in the coping process. Facing a mesothelioma diagnosis can be an experience made all the more frightening by its implicit solidarity. By connecting with other people who are in the same situation as you, either through an in-person or online support group (sometimes structured as a forum), you may find it easier to face the experience in a team-like capacity.
Professional assistance is also available to those dealing with a diagnosis of mesothelioma or another terminal illness. Various types of therapists are specially trained to help people through the coping process. Grief counselors, for instance, are available in many cancer treatment centers and palliative care facilities (as well as in private practice settings) to help both victims and their loved ones navigate the complex and often trying stages of the grief process. If a therapist or counselor has not already been made available to you, do not hesitate to ask your medical care team for a referral to a professional that can provide this essential and irreplaceable outlet of assistance.