The aftermath of asbestos usage in the United States has left an often tragic and even devastating path of destruction for exposure victims. For close to 100 years, between the late 1800s and mid- to late-1900s, millions of people were unknowingly exposed to a toxic and potentially fatal material. Many were exposed at work, while others came into contact with asbestos in their own homes-either from building components used during construction or through a process called secondary exposure.
Life after asbestos goes on with no detectable consequences for many people. But for the small and unfortunate portion that develops an asbestos-linked illness-such as asbestosis, mesothelioma or other forms of cancer-life is never the same again. All of these chronic and pervasive conditions cause significant physical and emotional distress for the victim-and in the case of mesothelioma cancers, death.
There is much information available about asbestos, its consequences and options for legal recourses. To offer victims of asbestos an easy and straightforward guide that is designed to cover a myriad of topics-from veteran exposure and cutting-edge treatment options to choosing a legal representative and taking your personal injury case to court.
PART XIII: ACCEPTING A PLEURAL OR PERITONEAL MESOTHELIOMA PROGNOSIS
A pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma prognosis is never “good.” Mesothelioma is a terminal illness, meaning that there is no cure and no known survivors. As we’ve already covered, the average mesothelioma life expectancy-no matter which form of the disease you have-is only 18 months. Some live longer, some pass away within just a couple months of being diagnosed-but current clinical expectations are similarly limited for all mesothelioma patients.
Initial Reaction and Feelings
When you are first given a pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma prognosis, any emotion-or lack of emotion-is understandable. In this situation, normal is whatever is normal for you. Each patient experiences this painful milestone in his or her own way. An initial state of shock is common-as are feelings of anger, fear, devastation and denial. Many people say that they feel as though they are experiencing every sentiment possible, all at the same time. Others say they experience many different feelings that come and go, suddenly and unexpectedly, in a constantly revolving cycle.
Working Towards Acceptance
Allow yourself to ride the waves of emotion. Try not to be self-judgmental and avoid repressing your true and authentic feelings. While it is common to have initial difficulty believing the news you have just been given, intentionally avoiding the reality of the situation with unhealthy distractions or diversions will only prolong the inevitable.
Give yourself time to let the news of your illness “sink in.” For most all patients, the harsh veracity of a pleural or peritoneal mesothelioma prognosis comes as completely unexpected. One thing that is universally required for reaching acceptance of a terminal condition is time. How you spend that immediate time after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis simply depends on your needs and preferences. Some patients need to be on their own for a while to begin processing the information. Others are comforted right away by the support and alliance provided by family and friends.
Whether you opt for solitude or the company of loved ones, it’s important to take care of your basic needs-and your health-in the early days and weeks after diagnosis. Make sure that you are eating well, getting as much sleep as possible and getting fresh air and exercise when you can.