Mesothelioma is a rare disease and is difficult to diagnose. Once diagnosed, some patients undergo surgery as part of their treatment plan. I’ve found over the years of treating patients after mesothelioma surgery, that there are many extremes in what people think is important, and what they don’t see as important.
Some of the symptoms that you should be aware of are dizziness, persistent coughing (more than you are comfortable with), shortness of breath, weight loss, weight gain (puffiness in your extremities), constipation, pain, weakness (not able to do what you could do a day or two ago), and fever. Paying attention to the way you or your loved one is feeling is important for a smooth recovery. Nutrition is also an important factor to monitor including how much food, and what types of food are being consumed. Also, ensuring the patient is abiding by the fluid intake requirements is important.
Medications and their side effects can also be an issue. When patients leave the hospital after surgery many are on pain medication. As everyone is different, it is important to pay attention to the constipation issue and follow a bowel regime. Often patients are on beta blockers for their heart rate and, sometimes as they get better, the dosages need to be adjusted.
Some of these points seem like they are simple, common sense things. It is surprising, however, how quickly they can escalate into serious issues when they are not addressed. It is important to listen to yourself: if something does not feel right, or if have a question about it, reach out. Call someone on your medical team and get the reassurance that you need.
A successful recovery is a team sport and you are the center of the team! Mesothelioma recovery can be tough, but together with your support system and your mesothelioma team preventable complications can be avoided.
Reach out if you have any questions!