There are many layers to the emotional and physical effects of experiencing malignant mesothelioma treatment, often compounded by the timing of the experience-which is almost always immediately following news of a devastating diagnosis. Patients typically have little or no time to really process the blow of being told that they have a terminal type of cancer and then must immediately transition into the physically taxing and emotionally draining treatment process.
But there are some ways that mesothelioma victims can soften those short-sequence blows and improve their coping ability at a time when most anyone would be pushed to their virtual limit. The following coping strategies are intended specifically to lend comfort and serenity to those undergoing malignant mesothelioma treatment but may also be helpful to friends and family members who are simultaneously struggling with the acceptance process.
Coping Strategy #1: Take optimal care of your body, inside and out.
If you were never much a fitness or nutrition buff before, now is definitely the time to make your health a top priority. Unfortunately, one of the most common side effects of chemotherapy-a frequently utilized method of malignant mesothelioma treatment-is nausea accompanied often by vomiting and loss of appetite. While this may make it difficult to focus on nutrition, doing so is extremely important for your mental and physical health. Not only is it a fact that cancer can actually change the way that the body absorbs nutrients-causing deficiencies in many necessary vitamins and minerals-but the taxing effects of chemo, radiation and other forms of treatment can easily make patients feel weak and lethargic. All of these factors also contribute to depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.
After receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis, patients are encouraged to immediately begin a nutrition and (if possible) light fitness regimen, in order to mitigate both the effects of the illness and associated treatment.
Coping Strategy #2: Gather a “cancer support team.”
Your “cancer support team” will include, of course, friends and family-who will likely want to help anyway they can. Additionally your doctors, nurses, physical therapists and other medical professionals will be important sources of both information and care. Many patients fighting cancer find added emotional strength by joining a support group where they can share their experiences with other individuals who are in the same boat. Finally, your asbestos attorney will be a valuable member of your support team-protecting and fighting for your legal rights and access to compensation.
Coping Strategy #3: Educate and advocate-find a purpose.
Many meso patients find a certain amount of strength and comfort in getting involved. By joining an advocacy group or finding other ways to reach out to the meso community, even possibly educating others who may be at risk for developing the disease before it’s too late, so-called “victims” can find a returned sense of control as well as a purpose to help them stay active in life beyond malignant mesothelioma treatment.