As science progresses and we attempt to move the physical treatment of Malignant Mesothelioma forward, we have learned that the mental aspects must be addressed as well. We have also learned that this illness affects patients, caregivers, friends and loved ones.
Many people experience anxiety, depression and a host of emotions that they may not be able to identify. The Mesothelioma community has provided support groups for patients and caregivers. We have identified that depression has been associated with this disease and many other cancers.
The emotions are feelings not facts. The key to overcoming some of these feelings is to identify and have resources to help you get through these thoughts. Here are a few tips that other cancer survivors have shared:
- Have a consistent support group. It can be large or small but just know that you can rely upon these people.
- Remember to breathe, possibly mediate. There are a lot of meditation apps available for low cost or free.
- Try to connect with other people who have been through this. You will find out you are not alone and possibly they may be able to give you tips with your symptoms of your disease or recovery.
- Spend time with loved ones and people that understand what you are going through.
- If you have a passion, this is your opportunity to embrace it.
- Be mindful of appointments and your physical challenges. Make the appointments work for you.
- Keep a journal. Writing down how you feel, physically and mentally, can help you follow your progress.
- Walk no matter what. If you can walk a bit more each day, good for you.
- Try to eat nutritious foods and avoid caffeine. Caffeine can interrupt sleep and make you feel jumpy.
- Remember you are alive, and you are getting treatment. You have a medical team who is fighting your illness with you.
These are a few tips to help. If you are feeling as if you need a therapist, these professionals are available. Reach out to your primary care group or your mesothelioma specialist and they can recommend someone. Stay positive.
Most centers of excellence have clergy, social workers, psychiatrists and holistic options. Explore what your group of specialists has to offer. If those options do not work, get connected with a patient who has had Mesothelioma. Ask questions, and continue to ask and reach out until you get what you need. You are the number one person here and you are what counts.