When you see someone everyday as they undergo treatment for mesothelioma, the physical changes can start gradually. As the caregiver, you accept and adjust to the changes. As your loved one changes over time, daily, you become accepting of them, and sometimes you don’t even see them or you discount them as being anything. When you are in the throes of caring for someone, you can lose perspective on how sick someone has become. You become accustomed to the symptoms of the disease progressing.
Maybe it is shortness of breath, pallor, swelling of the lower extremities, or the patient’s physical activity that has declined. When you step back and look at your loved one, away from the hospital setting, back in familiar settings, sometimes it is shocking, that you had not recognized the changes that are now glaring. How did you not see these changes?
Probably because you have been busy administering medications, providing comfort, pushing for more and better nutritional intake. It just happened. But now others are asking why you didn’t let them know, why you didn’t call or why you kept saying that everything is fine.
The truth is that the caregiver did not see it. Many people have been in this situation: the reality is that the disease is progressing. This is difficult to see and accept.
At this point, it is important to take a deep breath. Re-focus on fighting the symptoms, but accept what you cannot change and understand that time may well be limited and precious. By just being there you are providing emotional comfort and you are helping. Express your feelings, reminisce about the past, sit quietly.
Time is precious, and it only comes once, don’t miss it.