One of the most rewarding parts of being a nurse is meeting different people, hearing their stories, and learning from them. This past week a couple in their late 60’s, he has pleural mesothelioma, were sharing how mesothelioma had been a part of their lives for quite a while. Unlike most victims of mesothelioma, though, they had been aware of the devastation that mesothelioma causes: the woman’s father had died of mesothelioma nearly forty years ago.
At that time, her father was told by his doctor to go home and get his affairs in order. She remembered how devastating the news, and his subsequent death, had been on her family. Her father’s diagnosis turned into a death sentence that happened within six months of his diagnosis.
In the fall of 2015, after her husband had not been feeling well, he was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. He was told by his local doctor that he should go home and get his affairs in order. But once this wife and daughter of mesothelioma victims was able to process the latest news, she sprung into action. Her husband’s diagnosis and care was going to be different.
Thirty years ago we did not have the internet, and this woman refused to believe that no progress had been made and that, still, nothing could be done. She found some very helpful web sites, researched some leading doctors in the field, and attempted to find any clinical trials that might apply to her husband. Together they set their plan into motion.
She also located support for herself and her husband in dealing with mesothelioma. None of these resources were available to her father or her family so long ago. As she talked about what options they now had with mesothelioma, she shared her shock that her husband and father had been told the same thing. Now, with the benefit of the internet, and progress with mesothelioma, they felt they had options.
Listening to her story, I was struck by how much still needs to be done to help the newly diagnosed mesothelioma patient. It is not easy to wade through all the on-line information, it it time consuming and not all the information is current or accurate. Clinical trials are sometimes difficult to understand, and the process to becoming enrolled in a trial, and researching options can be overwhelming. Dealing with a new cancer diagnosis and all the changes that brings in your world is a very stressful time.
The chances of a woman having a father die of mesothelioma and then her husband being diagnosed with the same disease have to be astronomically low. But this time the woman and her husband have different options and are going to fight back. Hopefully, the outcome will be much different.
Know more about Mesothelioma and how you can deal with it.