The other day I paused to reflect as I saw patients and families in various stages along their journey with mesothelioma. I am fortunate enough to follow up with patients on an outpatient basis, and it is so rewarding to see patients progress back to their lives.
There is a young girl with mesothelioma who had treatment a year ago who is now back in school. Her course has been long and complicated, but here she was proudly talking about her job and classes. Most importantly she had started to regain some of the weight she had lost.
There is a gentleman who I had seen in December who also has had his fair share of bumps in the road. I actually had to look twice to know that this was the same man. He walked down the hall with his chest out and a sparkle in his eye. He was facing radiation and he felt he was mentally and physically ready for it. The next patient is a man who had surgery three months ago and is doing well. He had put on a little weight, and still had some pain, but he was home and his life was manageable.
One of the patient’s caregivers, who is a cancer survivor as well, was speaking of the importance of perspective. After a cancer diagnosis, she said every ache and pain makes you wonder if it is cancer related. She spoke about the fine line between vigilance and just driving yourself crazy with the possibilities. We talked about how negative thoughts can sneak in. Her solution to that is to get busy and live in the moment. We actually only have this very moment now!
To top off this special morning, a physician who I was speaking with was also checking his e-mail, and he let out a resounding “YES!!!” A smile filled his face as he read that he had just been notified about approval for a trial to which he had submitted. His delight in hearing the news was contagious.
This is what is special about mesothelioma patients and their team. Hope for continued progress for a disease that was once a death sentence, by people who are passionate about helping to improve the quality of life for others.