'I Have Mesothelioma'-Confronting a Nightmare Head-On

I have mesothelioma’—these are words you probably never thought you find yourself saying and up until recently, may not have even understood. It’s the element of shock that accompanies a mesothelioma diagnosis, which often makes it so hard to accept. For most victims the illness comes seemingly from “out of the blue,” suddenly and swiftly altering their lives in the most permanent way possible with little or no prior warning.

Certain actions on your part can help you through the initial adjustment phase of coping with your illness and provide you with the skills you’ll need for confronting a nightmare scenario head-on.

I Have Mesothelioma’ Acceptance Action: Knowledge is power, so amass as much as you can.

Because mesothelioma is so rare, many of its victims know little or nothing about the disease before being diagnosed. If this is true for you, don’t allow yourself to remain in the dark. Many resources are available for learning about mesothelioma, as well as its primary cause of asbestos exposure. Victims’ advocacy organizations like the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation provide comprehensive and up-to-date information that is easily accessible online. Of course, for first-hand info that is specific to your disease and diagnosis, you can and should ask questions of your medical care team directly

I Have Mesothelioma’ Acceptance Action: Let go of anger, but exercise your rights to legal recourse and compensation.

Do not take for granted the difference between vengeance and retribution. While anger is a common and normal emotional response to finding out that your condition was caused by negligent exposure to a known toxic carcinogen, it is also an easily fruitless emotion that causes more harm to its harbor than good. Work on letting go of anger, while also exploring your options for legal recourse. Seeking compensation by filing a mesothelioma lawsuit is not about “getting revenge.” Rather, it is intended to help you process your feelings by holding the responsible parties liable, in addition to providing you and your family with much-needed financial support during a trying and costly time.

I Have Mesothelioma’ Acceptance Action: Gather a support team of family, friends and professionals that can help you see this thing through.

Perhaps the most important step in facing down your diagnosis involves the formation of a support team—a group of loved ones, hired help and possibly even strangers that will be able to lend you the necessary strength, guidance and care that you’ll need in the coming months or years. Of course, close family and friends will be included but so will professionals—like your doctors, nurses, therapists and attorneys. Many people also find that it is helpful to get acquainted with other asbestos victims and fellow cancer crusaders. Often the treatment center that you have been referred to will host cancer support groups, but they may also be found online or through a local grief counseling service.