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Coping with Mesothelioma

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you may be wondering how to handle the news. Unfortunately, there is no way to make the treatment process easy or painless. However, there are ways to find support, take care of yourself, and minimize some of the pain and frustration that a cancer diagnosis can bring.

One thing to remember is that taking care of yourself means looking after both your physical and mental health. This is true for caretakers as well as patients. Anyone coping with this frightening diagnosis needs mesothelioma support and education to make it through treatment.

Coping with Medical Treatment

Mesothelioma is generally treated with chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and sometimes surgery. For the course of your treatment, you will be meeting with many different doctors, attending appointments, and to be honest, not feeling very well. To make sure your or your loved one’s treatment goes as well as it can, try some of the following tips:

  • Bring a notebook to appointments with your doctor. This is not only for writing down his or her advice; you can also write down any questions you may have throughout the week so you do not forget to ask them. Do not be afraid to ask about anything.
  • Ideally, patients should have someone attend doctors’ appointments with them. It can be hard to focus on what your doctor is saying when you feel sick.
  • Chemotherapy can create nausea and loss of appetite, but it is very important for mesothelioma patients to eat. It will help you stay strong and reduce the effects of taking medication on an empty stomach. Talk to your doctor about nausea treatments and recommended foods for mesothelioma patients.

Your doctor’s advice may not always be easy to follow. When you feel very sick, it is tempting to just give up. However, with the right support, you can make it through treatment.

Coping with Negative Feelings

It is normal for mesothelioma patients and their families to feel shocked, afraid, angry, sad, frustrated, all of the above, or something else entirely. When people do not find ways to cope with their feelings, making it through treatment can become much harder. In fact, some studies have suggested that a mesothelioma patient’s attitude can partially influence the outcome of his or her treatment.

Some tips for coping with unhappy feelings include:

  • Build a support network. Sometimes people are afraid to ask for help, but we all need to do it from time to time. Do not feel bad about relying on friends or family at this difficult time.
  • Reach out. Sometimes conversations with others who are dealing with the same situation, or have survived it before, can be a great help. Ask your doctor about support groups in your area.
  • Find a way to vent. Not everyone is comfortable discussing their feelings in depth, but that does not mean you cannot let them out. Some people find writing or creating artwork useful ways to express themselves. At other times, you may just need to beat up a pillow.

The important thing is to keep a sense of hope. With the right mesothelioma support and useful information, you can make it through, even if it does not always seem like it.

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