Communicating with Mesothelioma Medical Team Can Help Ease Discomfort
“I am a little short of breath, but I didn’t call anyone because I was thinking it would get better.” “I am still having pain, but I thought it would go away.” Two very different patients; two very common problems for patients with mesothelioma.
This past weekend I saw two patients who had both undergone surgery a month ago, and both had very different symptoms that could be helped. Except they did not bring these issues to the medical team’s attention, instead they suffered in silence at home until their next scheduled appointment. While I know it is scary to leave the hospital where you are surrounded by professionals who know what is typical and what is not, it is important that mesothelioma patients be aware of subtle, bothersome changes that can be treated before they develop into bigger problems.
Recovering from surgery is a very stressful time. Dealing with pain, dietary restrictions and exercise guidelines are tough enough, but add to them management of suture lines, fluid balance, weakness, and even bowel function, and patients can easily become overwhelmed. Although a patient may not know what is “not normal” after surgery, any time you are concerned about something, it is best to call your medical point of contact to help allay your fears, and maybe even get relief through a medication or additional information.
The first patient had developed shortness of breath over a couple of days. In her case, she was not discharged with a diuretic- intentionally. But after a call to her doctor and a short discussion, a prescription was ordered and she was “much better” the next day.
For the patient suffering from pain, ongoing discussions between him and the medical team has allowed the doctor to monitor dosage and adjust medication as needed. Adding an additional medication, taking the medication as needed, and developing a plan all helped to ease the pain and allow the patient to rest easier.
Every patient’s journey with mesothelioma is different, but all of them will experience bumps along the way. Open communication with your medical team, your family, and your caregivers is essential. Your team will be responsive to your needs – but they need to know about them. If something is bothering you, ask. Your team wants you to feel the best you possibly can!
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