When a person who has been exposed to asbestos is diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, their entire world turns upside down. Suddenly, everything is focused on the disease, its treatment, and its affect on your family. Whether you’ve chosen an aggressive approach to your cancer or opted for palliative care designed to provide you with the greatest possible quality of life and relief from pain, at some point your actual cancer treatment will come to an end, and for many that eventuality can be difficult to deal with. As much as you may long for the day of your last chemotherapy session, for many the end of treatment represents a loss: it is easy to establish relationships with those who have been providing you care, and the end of treatment can feel like giving up. Mesothelioma is an emotionally challenging disease, and if you are struggling with feelings of fear, frustration, anxiety or grief, there is plenty of help available to you. Here are a few helpful hints for dealing with your stress.
- Make sure that you are being compliant with the instructions that your mesothelioma specialist has given you. Though your course of treatment may be over, you are still a patient. You need to take your medications as prescribed, and make sure that you are showing up for all follow-up appointments and monitoring. Progression-free survival is considered temporary, and your physician will need to track you closely so that a new treatment plan can be put in place when your mesothelioma tumors return.
- Accept your fears and let yourself grieve. Though others may insist that you should stay upbeat, that is for their benefit – not yours. The more open and honest you are with your emotions, the better you are likely to feel, and may facilitate a more honest reaction from those who care for you too.
- If you don’t feel that you can speak with your family about your feelings, take advantage of the ready ear of a therapist, counselor, spiritual leader or friend.
- Live in the moment. Take the time to feel gratitude for all the good that you have experienced, and try to get what enjoyment and pleasure you can out of each of your days.
- Embrace a healthy lifestyle, but don’t cheat yourself of pleasures. Wellness is both a physical state and a mental state.
- If you can, get outside and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine.
- Take back as much control of your life as you can. Though you may not be able to return to your previous roles or responsibilities, there are certainly some things that you can do, and returning to what was once normal will likely make you feel better.
If you are a mesothelioma patient and you need information about the resources available to you, contact us today at 1-800-966-2244.