Living with Mesothelioma: Help and Hope through Better Health

[Part One]

This is part one of a three-part series designed to offer victims of mesothelioma help and guidance through their journey of acceptance.

A diagnosis of mesothelioma is bound to come as a stunning and unexpected blow for most of its victims. Because the disease is rare and usually takes several years to develop, most people do not routinely prepare for such a crisis and are caught off-guard upon learning of their fate.

Often, really hearing and processing the medical explanations you will receive is a struggle for someone who is operating in a state of shock. The reality may take some time to settle in. Once it does, you will likely have many questions, fears, and emotions—all of which are normal and understandable.

One of the most important things to realize after receiving a prognosis of less-than-favorable odds is that you can and will go on—even if for a limited time. And there are many things you can do to improve your quality of life, and possibly even its length, by taking care of your health and nourishing your body. When living with mesothelioma, help can come by way of nutrition, exercise, and relaxation.

Nutrition is paramount.

This is especially important because two of the most common side effects of traditional mesothelioma treatment methods are nausea and loss of appetite. Therefore, keeping your weight up through a nutritious and well-balanced diet can have a major influence on your overall state of being.

Healthful eating means cultivating a diet that incorporates a variety of different foods from each of the five major food groups. Variety is key for ensuring that you receive all of the different vitamins and minerals your body needs. Additionally, nutritional supplements for people living with mesothelioma help fill any holes left in their dietary regime.

Physical activity can help fight fatigue.

It’s normal and even expected to feel fatigued while undergoing cancer treatment of any kind. While it is certainly encouraged to rest on cue with your body’s needs, experts also recommend exercise to help fight fatigue and boost energy.

In addition, exercise is known to alleviate the depression and anxiety that plague many cancer patients. It also improves circulation, which can lower blood pressure and strengthen two of the body’s most important organs—the heart and the lungs.

Less stress improves morale.

One of the most important things you can do to maintain your physical and emotional health is reducing stress. Being diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma is almost guaranteed to bring all kinds of new stressors into your life—from maintaining almost constant doctors’ visits to worrying about protecting your family’s financial future.

For the stress of living with mesothelioma, help can come in a form as simple as relaxation. Clearing your mind of your troubles and working on maintaining a sense of inner peace is all it takes, though many people turn to formal techniques—like meditation, yoga and massage therapy—to achieve this end.