When a person is diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, they immediately become the focus of everybody’s attention, from medical professionals and family members to the individual’s wider community. Making sure that the individual is doing everything that they can to improve their survival or quality of life is essential. But it’s also important to remember that the mesothelioma victim is not the only person who is suffering. In most cases, there is a family member or trusted companion who steps up to the plate and takes on the role of caregiver. They take the patient to medical appointments, make sure that they are compliant with all instructions and taking all medications, prepare meals and are generally the source of most of their emotional and physical support. These individuals not only sacrifice their time and normal activity, but also frequently forego self-care, and this can be damaging both for themselves and for the patient.
If you are a caregiver for a mesothelioma patient, it’s a good idea to remember the safety instructions that are given to every airline passenger: make sure that your own oxygen mask is on before you help somebody else. It is essential that you take the time to make sure that you are okay. After all, if you get sick or succumb to exhaustion or depression, then who will pick up where you left off? Here are some of the most important things that you can do to make sure that you have the help that you need and that you’re taking care of yourself:
- Ask for help if you need it. Caregivers often try to carry the whole burden on their shoulders, despite the fact that there are others who are more than willing to pitch in.
- Allow yourself to feel scared and to grieve, and when you need to speak about what you’re feeling, do so.
- Take care of your own physical health by eating nutritious foods and taking the time to get some fresh air and exercise.
- Make sure that you’re getting enough sleep.
- Remember that you can’t control everything.
There are many resources available to help you provide support for your loved one with mesothelioma. For more information, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.