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12

Mesothelioma Nurse Suggests Meditation as One Way to Cope With the Stress of the Disease


If you or a family member has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma or any cancer, most people would advise you to go to a center where the medical team treats a lot of patients with your type of cancer. While deciding on how and where to get treatment, don’t forget to take into account your “whole” person.

There are many options available to help patients cope with the stressful diagnosis of cancer. The official term used to describe therapies and botanicals that are used along with traditional medical therapy is ‘Complementary and Alternative medicine (CAM).’ According to the National Cancer Institute’s web site, a 2007 National Health Interview Survey reports about four out of ten adults use CAM therapy, with the most commonly used treatments being natural products and deep breathing exercises. In 2017, it would seem that this number would have risen significantly.

While being treated for mesothelioma it is important to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. One of the ways could be meditating to help turn down the noise in your head.

According to Psychology Today, meditation is the practice of turning your attention to a single point of reference. It can involve focusing on the breath, on bodily sensations, or on a word or phrase known as a mantra. In other words, meditation means turning your attention away from distracting thoughts and focusing on the present moment.

Meditation can be done in most settings. There are many types of meditation, but they have common elements to them. Two types of meditation are concentrative meditation and mindful meditation. Concentrative meditation teaches individuals to focus on a single image, sound or mantra, or even their own breathing. In mindful meditation, the person does not focus attention on a single thing but becomes more aware of any and all thoughts, feelings, sounds or images that may pass through your mind. The point is to let them pass through and not dwell on them.

The different types of meditation have four elements a person meditating should seek: a quiet place with as few distractions as possible; a comfortable position; something to focus on, possibly an object, a special word; and an open mind- letting things go through your mind and letting them go.

Whatever therapy you decide works for you, learn about it and give it a try. You never know what alternative therapy will work for you.

Lisa Hyde-Barrett

About the Author - 

Lisa Hyde-Barrett has helped ease the stress of patients and their families by offering a comforting hand. Lisa has 25 years of experience as a thoracic surgery nurse at Brigham and Women’s Hospital a top 5 nationally ranked cancer hospital. Lisa works with leading nationally-recognized surgeons who specialize in mesothelioma. Through her extensive experience caring for mesothelioma patients, she is a facilitator for the patient to help them maintain control and dignity over their treatment of their disease and to assist with the patient’s wishes. She is passionate about helping the mesothelioma community.

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