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Tread Lightly When Offering Your Opinion on a Friend’s Mesothelioma Treatment Plan

Everyone deals with challenging times in different ways. All you can do is pray and trust in God that you will make the right decisions on how to handle them. A mesothelioma diagnosis is an earth shattering event and it can make you question everything you thought you knew.

When my Dad was diagnosed, we immediately went into panic mode, but quickly realized that we needed to remain focused on the task at hand; this task was coming up with and implementing a treatment plan, and finding the right people to help us figure out what exactly that was. Through God’s Divine intervention, we truly believe that we took the best course of action that we possibly could.

When Dad passed away, I was at peace knowing that he had fought hard and that together as a family, we had done our best every step of the way. Then the doubt started to creep in; the catalyst being people openly questioning our decisions. You get asked things like, “Do you think if he had done a different treatment he would have made it?” “Do you think you should have done something differently?” And then, the worst, “If it were me, I would have…”

To these questions, I reply that we did the best we could with the information and treatment options available at the time. We truly feel that our course was where we were supposed to be. And then, I pray that it’s never you or someone you care about.

I understand that it’s human nature to want to voice your opinion; it’s something that each of us is entitled to do. The tough part about these opinions in personal situations is just that, it’s personal. No matter how hard I try to let comments roll off of my back, it’s almost impossible for me. I am fiercely protective of my family and the memory of my father. Someone implying that we didn’t do everything possible to save him breaks my heart.

Mesothelioma is a thief. It deprives you of air, it takes away your energy, and in some cases, lives are lost to it. Meso stole my father from me. It stole my mother’s husband. It kept my daughter from ever even meeting her grandfather.

Any implication of being lackadaisical in taking care of someone you love so much is painful. Everyone handles their life’s situations in different ways. Even though they may not choose the same course that you would, respect their decisions.

Mother Theresa said, “Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; the third is to be kind.” Use words to lift people up, not to tear them down. Do your best to be understanding of other’s pain; show them kindness instead of doubt or disdain. The mesothelioma community has already been dealt with a devastating blow; be a support to them, don’t tear them down.

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