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Competitiveness Can Benefit Mesothelioma Patients

What motivates someone to push himself through his recovery? I think we all have a competitive edge to us for something. It could be to be the best salesman, homemaker, parent, or to be the best at our job, in our home or any other area we want to improve. For some, competition is all encompassing, for others it is a healthy motivator.

I took care of a patient the other day who was observing another patient’s recovery. He said, “Oh, he looks better than I do when he’s walking.” I explained the other patient had a different set of circumstances, and that no two mesothelioma patients are alike. He nodded in agreement. Knowing what a competitive person he was, I knew he was noting this and thinking how he was going to improve. His verbalizing that the other patient looked better walking was actually motivating him to push himself.

Reflecting on this, it reminded me of how fortunate we are in the U.S. to have dedicated mesothelioma centers. Now, as there is more collaboration between the researchers, and various centers than in the past we can ask, “What motivates these researchers?”

I think it is more about them wanting to do their best. Without competition, what would motivate these researchers and future researchers to dedicate their lives to a disease that many others have thrown their hands up at? These scientists, doctors, nurses and others would not keep working to improve the outcome for mesothelioma patients, if they were satisfied with the status quo. They would be satisfied like many other medical professionals before them, saying there is nothing we can do.

As for my patient, the next time he walks, he may walk farther just because he saw somebody else do the same. When the  competitor in us helps us achieve more, we should embrace it.  Sometimes we need to motivate ourselves by pushing ourselves so we can grow and get more information, research, ideas, or maybe just walk a few more steps in after surgery.

Take a few more deep breaths, and count our blessings that we are able to do it.

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