Caring for Someone with Mesothelioma: How To Cope

Taking care of an ill spouse, child, parent, or another family member can be extremely taxing, especially if their illness is life-threatening. Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer usually brought on by asbestos exposure, and it can be extremely difficult to treat and live with. If someone you love was diagnosed with mesothelioma, you need to know what to expect on the road ahead.

As a caregiver for someone with mesothelioma, make sure you know what to anticipate and find out what you can do to make this process easier for everyone involved.

Knowing the Disease

First off, do your homework. A cancer diagnosis can feel like the end of the world, and it is often as overwhelming as it is terrifying. While you should certainly let your feelings out, it’s equally important to learn the facts and make a practical plan.

Ask your loved one’s doctor for information on their particular case, and find out about additional resources you can utilize so that you can learn more about the disease. To start, you will need to know what stage of cancer your loved one has, where the cancer is, and what treatment options are available. You should also learn more about how mesothelioma develops and what symptoms are common.

Avoid looking at life expectancies and potential prognoses online—each case is different and these numbers are often discouraging and don’t give you a good look at the big picture. Instead, talk directly with your doctor about projected timelines if you and your loved one feel it is necessary.

Supporting Your Loved One

Take the time to talk to your loved one, listening to their needs and concerns as they grapple with this new challenge. Even if all you can do is be a shoulder to cry on, be there for them.

There are several ways you can offer support to someone with mesothelioma, including:

  • Taking them to doctor’s appointments
  • Providing transportation
  • Running everyday errands
  • Preparing meals
  • Keeping health records filed and organized
  • Housekeeping
  • Dealing with medical insurance
  • Managing medications

In very severe cases, you might also consider hiring someone else to help you provide your loved one with the care they require. In-home nurse care can be an extremely useful resource and can help free up your time to help with other aspects of care while the nurse focuses on the medical details.

Finding the Time to Be a Caregiver

If you work, you might be concerned about finding the time, and the money, to be a full-time caregiver. Through the Family and Medical Leave Act, you are able to take time off work to care for a family member in need of medical care. You might also consider decreasing your professional workload or asking other family members to help you split time with your ill loved one, that way everyone shares the labor, so to speak.

Take Care of Yourself

While pouring all of your time and energy into your sick loved one may seem like the best thing to do, remember to care for yourself, too. Being a caretaker is extremely difficult work and it can take an emotional and physical toll. Make sure you take time to relax and deal with your own emotions every now and then, both for your benefit and for your loved one.

If someone you know was diagnosed with mesothelioma, make sure you explore your legal options. Caring for someone with cancer is extremely taxing and can be very costly, especially if you need to stop working in addition to losing your sick loved one’s income. Mesothelioma is often caused by asbestos exposure, which can happen at work or at home if a property is not adequately maintained or updated. If you think your loved one may have developed mesothelioma because of someone’s negligence or carelessness, our firm wants to help you seek justice and compensation.

Contact Shrader & Associates L.L.P. for help with your mesothelioma case.