When diagnosed with mesothelioma and undergoing treatment, patients often ask, “Is this the best I am ever going to feel?” Or they want to know, “Will I ever recover and feel good again?” Let’s look at what recovery looks like for mesothelioma patients.
The definition of recovery is: “a return to a normal state of health, mind or strength.” But, how long does it take to recover from mesothelioma? Recovery can be different for everyone, and it depends on the type of treatment the patients receive for their mesothelioma. Although that may sound like a non-answer, it comes down to the simple fact that everyone reacts differently to treatment. When it comes to managing mesothelioma, all patients are faced with a new reality; a new normal.
Unfortunately, there is no cut and dry answer for length of recovery. Some people say they feel better immediately, especially in regards to their breathing. When the benefits of chemotherapy and radiation kick in, people say their breathing is different. Although that is good, some patients are impacted by the side effects and may be plagued by fatigue.
Often times, patients feel better just starting to do something to battle the disease. Mentally, they feel stronger and more powerful because they are actively doing something. While surgery is a strong step in fighting the cancer, it is rarely a quick recovery. It takes time, sometimes a long time. But, the question you could ask yourself is: “Am I better at some point during my recovery than I was before I started treatment?”
I think it is a good idea to jot down any improvements you see or feel on a weekly basis, and reflect on the positive changes that you may slowly be realizing. Writing it down helps you focus on the positive. It may be baby steps, but it is progress.
Recently, I was asked about recovery by a 65 year old man who had undergone pleurectomy surgery just three weeks before, and his improvements were slow. He had complications, and needed time to regain his strength. The days can be long when you are recovering away from home, and you don’t know what the future holds. I am happy to report that after one more week at rehab, he went home to recuperate and was feeling much better. “Normal” is how he described how he felt.
Sometimes you just need to keep in mind that you will get better, and things will get back to normal for you. It will be a new normal, and that can take some getting used to, but each victory is a step in the right direction!