Most patients who have mesothelioma will need to go to rehab facilities after surgery, or at different points on their journey. These experiences are as varied as the patients themselves. Recently, while visiting a patient in rehab, I noticed a sign that read, “Find Your Strength.” Having been to this rehab many times, it struck me that I had never noticed this sign before.
Reflecting on the message, and the mesothelioma patient I was visiting, it struck me how much physical and emotional strength is required to deal with mesothelioma. The physical strength can be quantified by how the patient is breathing, his oxygen level, how well he is walking, appetite, pain level, and generally how they are feeling. The physical strength to deal with mesothelioma often comes with time, therapy, and patience.
The strength to deal with mesothelioma on an emotional level, however, can be daunting. What are your coping mechanisms? Are you a talker? Do you exercise, run, swim, walk, and did that help you to deal with stress before your diagnosis? Do you know what your emotional strengths are?
During crises in your life, you deal with things that you never thought you had the strength to get through. Your support system may be helpful at this time, but you need to let them know what you need.
The mesothelioma patient that I was visiting seemed to have found his strength. Tucked away in a sunny corner of his room, with his eyes closed listening to his wife reading to him, I found it hard to believe he was the same person that had left the mesothelioma hospital one week ago. He had been weak physically and emotionally withdrawn. He had reluctantly agreed to rehab.
Now, the scene in front of me was of someone at peace. His wife was reading from a book of spiritual readings. He appeared to be reflecting on the message and her voice. As the visit progressed and we talked of all they had been through, he made a request: “Say a prayer for me.” As I responded yes, the sign at the entryway came to mind.
“Find Your Strength.” This patient and his wife found theirs together.