Receiving bad news is always a challenge, but when the news is that you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a rare and fatal disease like malignant mesothelioma, you need help and support. There are so many elements that you need to come to terms with – a shortened life expectancy, the prospect of undergoing difficult medical treatments and their associated costs, concerns about your family’s economic security. All of these issues are likely to leave you feeling confused, frightened, anxious and depressed.
It is completely normal for a mesothelioma patient to worry about the present and the future for themselves and for their family and loved ones, and we are here to help. Those who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases may be eligible for compensation from the asbestos bankruptcy trusts, or to file a mesothelioma lawsuit against those who are responsible for exposing you to asbestos. Contact us today for a free financial compensation packet or to get in touch with a qualified mesothelioma attorney who can advise you of your rights.
The First Step
In order to deal with your diagnosis in the most effective way possible, you should start by educating yourself about malignant mesothelioma in general and your condition in particular. The more you understand about the disease, about the treatments available, about life expectancy and your prognosis, the better you will be able to address each of the issues that arise. There’s an old axiom that says that information is power, and there is a lot of truth to that – the more you know, the more in control and confident you will feel going forward. Start by making arrangements to meet with the physician who diagnosed your illness to get some specific questions answered. Some of the things that you will want to know include:
- What kind of mesothelioma do I have? Where is it located in my body?
- How advanced is my illness?
- What is the best treatment plan for me? Will I need surgery? Chemotherapy? A combination of treatments?
- Has my mesothelioma spread?
- Have I had all of the tests that I need to be sure that I have mesothelioma, or should I have more? What tests do I need?
- Am I eligible to participate in any clinical trials?
- How did I get mesothelioma? Is there a chance that any of my family members will also be diagnosed with this disease?
- Does the medical facility that you work with have a specialized cancer or mesothelioma treatment center?
Asking and getting answers to these questions can be emotionally overwhelming. There is a lot of information that needs to be gathered, so it is advisable that you do not attend any medical appointment alone. By having somebody with you, you double the chances that all of the questions that need to be answered are asked and that both of you will remember the answers. Having them there for emotional support is also essential.
The more you learn about mesothelioma and the treatments that are available, the less frightened you will feel and the more confidence you will have going forward. You and your family will likely want to discuss all of the options that are presented to you. Frequently your physician will look to you for guidance on whether you want to approach your treatment aggressively or simply to be made comfortable, depending upon how advanced your illness is.
Community is Essential
It is completely normal and natural to want to spend some time by yourself, dealing with your malignant mesothelioma diagnosis. You may feel a need to get used to the idea and to come up with a strategy for sharing the news with friends and family members. Though this is understandable, it is also important that you not isolate yourself too much. Having the support of those who love and care about you will prove to be invaluable as you process this information and deal with the many emotions and issues that will arise.
Studies have shown that the more open you are about your fears, your grief, and other emotions, the healthier you will be. Honesty is essential, and that means that you need to be honest with yourself about your prognosis as well as with those you share your news with. The more you hide or keep inside, the more your feelings will add to a damaging sense of isolation.
Social workers and psychiatrists alike agree that the healthiest approach to a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma is to be open and honest with everybody. When you speak frankly, others will do the same in response to you. If you feel that you are unable to express yourself to those who are closest to you, you may want to seek out a support group or professional who can give you the sense of security and safety that you need.
Where to Find Support
There are a number of organizations and agencies that are there for patients who have been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. Some of these provide emotional support, some spiritual, and some financial. You may find that you are able to draw great strength by reaching out to these groups.
- Support Groups – There are a wide variety of networks and community groups that have been established specifically to deal with the emotional issues confronting those diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. Some of these groups are local and some are available online; some are made up of mesothelioma patients and their survivors while others are provided by professionals such as psychologists, nurses and social workers. These support groups are there to help answer practical questions as well as to share feelings and experiences in an open and honest format.
- Local and State Agencies – There are many issues that those who have been diagnosed with a terminal disease need to deal with, and several state and local agencies exist to help you with these issues. They may be able to help you find in-home medical services such as a visiting nurse or therapist, assistance with household chores or errands, transportation to and from doctors’ appointments, and financial assistance. Your physician’s office or a social worker may be able to help you identify these groups or provide you with a list of phone numbers for you to call.
- Religious Organizations – Many religious organizations offer support and outreach to help those who have been diagnosed with terminal illness come to terms with their grief and their spiritual questions. If you are not comfortable with support of a religious nature, there are also grief counselors and psychologists who can provide you with a sounding board and assistance in dealing with the many emotions that you are feeling.
Legal Help for Mesothelioma Patients
A big part of dealing with a diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma is coming to grips with the fact that your illness was caused by exposure to asbestos. If you would like information on your legal rights and the financial compensation to which you may be entitled, contact us today at 1-800-706-5606. We can set up a free consultation to discuss filing a mesothelioma lawsuit or claim against the asbestos trust funds, and send you a free financial compensation packet for you to review.