Receiving a diagnosis of mesothelioma makes for a serious and life-changing event, from which you cannot expect to ever fully recover. It’s not unusual to feel overwhelmed – even frozen. This is a common reaction, known as shock, and it is also a common initial stage of the grieving process. If you’re waiting for the world to simply stop turning, however, that isn’t likely to happen. Indeed, there are thousands of Americans living with malignant mesothelioma all around the country. And as those individuals have discovered, the best thing to do when coping with the blow of a terminal diagnosis is to make a plan and get started in taking the necessary steps to move forward. Here’s how:
First: Work with your doctor to make a treatment plan, and begin treatment as soon as possible.
The likelihood of treatment being effective depends tremendously on how soon it is begun – even more importantly, which stage the cancer is in. Because the vast majority of patients receive a diagnosis of mesothelioma only after it is in its latest stages, no time can be wasted from that point of diagnosis and the commencement of treatment if any hope is to be held for even partial treatment success. Form a plan with your medical team immediately, and get it underway just as quickly as is possible.
Second: Review your finances and begin taking steps to secure your resources for medical treatment, as well as the future of any dependents.
Mesothelioma treatments are expensive. As soon as you have a plan in place, you’ll need to determine how to pay for your medical care. Verify your insurance benefits immediately to identify which costs your policy will cover. If you are uninsured, you’ll need to explore assistance, as well as free or low-cost options, such as participating in a clinical study. Types of assistance for those who have experienced a diagnosis of mesothelioma vary. Veterans, for instance, who were exposed to asbestos while enlisted, should be eligible for disability through their local VA office.
Another option available to anyone with known and verifiable past exposure to asbestos is to file a lawsuit against the entity that caused that exposure – often a former employer – and hopefully receive an asbestos settlement. Settlement funds are intended to cover medical expenses, in addition to providing some financial stability to mesothelioma victims and their families.
Third: Take care of yourself, physically and emotionally.
Optimal nutrition is very important after receiving a diagnosis of mesothelioma. If able, mesothelioma patients should also maintain some healthy physical activity. Equally vital to physical health is emotional wellbeing. Enrolling in therapy or joining a support group are both good ways to boost one’s state of mind. Many notable mesothelioma “survivors,” who have beaten the disease’s poor odds by living well past the two-year mark, largely credit their positive outlook and sense of faith with allowing them to survive for many more years than expected.