The rare form of cancer known as mesothelioma, according to an estimate, occurs in about 3,000 people in the United States per year, which makes up less than 0.3% population-wide.
Despite these startlingly low numbers, it is not an easy diagnosis. Families may find themselves in a tough spot acknowledging the severity of the situation. Simultaneously a patient seeks the comfort and warmth only loved ones can offer.
Therefore the distances between each member must be eradicated through transparent conversations. A cancer diagnosis can strain any relationship, which is why finding ways to navigate through the news is essential. If you recently learned about a loved one’s critical condition, here is how you can deal with the situation in the best way possible:
Table of Contents
1. Learn About the Disease
One of the reasons families get cold feet with a mesothelioma diagnosis is a lack of awareness. It is natural to assume the worst when you learn someone has mesothelioma. However, doing some research work and talking to the doctor can help immensely.
Doctors know much about the disease and can openly discuss what to expect with the family member. They can also inform them on possible treatment routes, which can aid the patient in making an informed decision. The more a family learns about mesothelioma, the more they will be an asset for the patient.
2. Look Into Lawsuit Options
Asbestos exposure is the leading cause of mesothelioma. Once the family can track down the source of asbestos, they can look into filing a lawsuit. Families should get a free case review to understand the dimensions of a lawsuit for their loved ones. Going down the legal route can help families get closure.
The money that comes from settling the case can also go into treatment. Mesothelioma is financially draining, so it can be an immense stress reliever with adequate funds pouring in. When money is taken care of, it helps the patient relax and focus on getting better.
3. Seek Proper Legal Counseling
Mesothelioma can help families learn about the legal angle of the case. Even if they’re not prepared to file for a lawsuit, they can learn about what legal options are in store for them. This can help them discuss options with the patient and figure out what they wish to do about mesothelioma.
If they know that cancer stems from the patient’s workplace, they can take them to court. This way, a family doesn’t feel like they’re not doing enough and helps get their loved one proper legal representation.
4. Check into Therapy
A severe disease such as mesothelioma can be emotionally taxing. No one has the tools at hand to deal with the situation. Some family members may push back into their shells, while others may slip into depression. Professional intervention in therapy can bring everyone on the same page. Family members get a chance to discuss the elephant in the room and their feelings.
They may learn what the other is going through and what they can do to help each other out. For example, the therapist may suggest journaling thoughts and feelings concretely. In some instances, the therapist may also suggest holistic therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy to deal with the condition better.
Feelings and emotions must not go neglected. It does more harm than good when a person denies them.
5. Deal With Slight Strained Relationships
When a patient goes through cancer treatment, it is not uncommon for relatives to tiptoe on eggshells. They may filter their thoughts and words treating the patient like a porcelain doll. No one likes feeling alienated. While patients need care, they don’t want to get treated differently.
Families should openly discuss what is triggering for the patient and what is not. They shouldn’t assume their loved one’s condition and let them ask for assistance when they need it. If families keep a reserved stance around each other, it can strain relationships.
It also doesn’t take much for arguments and domestic disputes to arise. So it’s best to talk to each other and get a mediator involved if there is trouble reaching the same page.
6. Establish a Routine
Families can lose their routines while providing care. Time and responsibilities often take the backseat when there are regular doctor appointments to attend, which is why both the family and the patient must have a routine to deal with treatment to be strong be healthy. Everyone should take turns being with the patient and keep each other updated on the current prognosis. Members who are working should take over patient care during the weekends.
The patient’s spouse should also take breaks during regular intervals to prevent caretaker burnout. If everyone pitches in, providing care and support becomes more manageable. It also prevents one family member from shouldering all the stress and jeopardizing their health.
7. Get Help
Balancing between caring for the patient and managing a domestic life can get hard. A family should look into getting domestic help. These include maids and nannies who can lend a hand with the chores and children. If the patient’s spouse is dealing with work and legal issues about mesothelioma, they can focus on them.
It also prevents the house and the patient from getting neglected and prevents the family from succumbing to stress. There is no shame in asking for help. It also makes it easier to have professionals in the house instead of relying on older family members.
Getting an attendant can also help look after the patient’s needs. On days when there is immense weakness, fatigue, and stress, it helps to have attendant care for you. A family can quickly locate these professionals online or ask for references through friends.
8. Talk to the Children
Children are vulnerable and innocent. Often they don’t understand the severity of the situation and can get scared witnessing cancer. It will help if family members such as the parents of the children talk to them.
It benefits the child when they are more aware of what is happening. If there are teens in the house, they are old enough to get included in hard-hitting conversations. If the patient is the children’s parent, the children may understand better what their parent is going through.
Removing barriers between the child and parent can make it easier to deal with mesothelioma. The children are more mentally and emotionally prepared to deal with bad news.
A mesothelioma diagnosis is challenging for the family. It can stress them out immensely and put them in a delicate situation when dealing with the patient. No one likes getting isolated, so coping with the news can bridge the distance between family members.
At the same time, the information is hard to deal with. Don’t hesitate to speak to doctors and seek legal counsel to understand mesothelioma properly. It would help if families looked into therapy and got domestic help to deal with everyday work.
In addition, children should not get excluded from the conversation and kept in the loop. While these measures are few, they can help patients and their families deal with challenging times.