When your loved one gets diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, it takes a toll on your mental health. Watching dear ones experiencing excoriating pain, changing lifestyles, and navigating through new life challenges can be difficult. However, being a family member and well-wisher, you can play a role in easing their difficulties.
Mesothelioma is among some incurable diseases and is often diagnosed in its later stage. Patients and their family members generally do not get enough time to process the news and have to adjust to the new normal. Without wasting any time, you need to learn different ways of handling the disease.
Let’s learn a few ways you can help a loved one dealing with mesothelioma so that you can offer them your support in the best ways:
- Enlighten Them about Their Treatment Options
Unfortunately, mesothelioma diagnosis means that the patient has a maximum of a year to live. Still, it does not mean that you do not lift a finger and sit idly. The patient may be overwhelmed with their diagnosis, and searching for treatment options might be too much. Step in, do the work, and search for all treatment options. Help them discover their options, but leave the final decision to them.
Military people are different from other people, and when they retire, trauma and asbestos exposure often stay with them. If you are a relative of any veterans with mesothelioma, you should lend them a helping hand. Assist them in searching for their treatment options.
Enlightening them with their treatment choices and managing disease techniques will ease their pain.
- Fixate on Their Lung Health
Mesothelioma can be of different types, but pleural mesothelioma is the most common. It affects the thin membrane covering the lungs. Consequently, it impacts patients’ lungs, the crucial organs for bodily functions.
You must understand that your dear one’s condition will only worsen as time passes. Difficulty breathing and continuously coughing are common issues for pleural mesothelioma patients. Give them medication that can open airways and help them with breathing issues. Perhaps you cannot improve the lungs’ condition, but you can certainly make it less discomforting for mesothelioma patients.
- Prioritize Their Mental Health
Remember, mesothelioma is deadly. Its diagnosis generally is a shock. Thus, chances are patients suffer from anxiety and depression.
People who know they will die soon will stop living in the moment. Disappointments and hopelessness engulf them, and they fail to live productively and happily. You must be there and help them ease their anxiety. Understand that they are not the same person anymore and may throw tantrums.
Mesothelioma patients can deal with the disease better if they are in a better space mentally. Working with them to improve their psychological condition will impact them positively.
- Stay in Touch with an Oncologist
Mesothelioma patients need to see their oncologists regularly. Since it is a destructive disease, a patient’s condition may worsen without warning. You must keep their oncologist in the loop and regularly update them about your loved one’s health.
There might be minor changes in patients’ conditions that you do not deem important. Still, they can be a vital indicator of a patient’s worsening condition. No matter how insignificant a difference you notice, inform your oncologist about everything out of the ordinary. Remember, they are with you and want ease for your loved one.
- Offer Emotional Support
Mesothelioma patients may break down and feel hopeless at times. Understandably, their priorities have changed, and they may want to finish any pending business. Be there for them and offer them support in any way they require.
Your loved one may have nerves of steel, but suffering from mesothelioma can crack their nerves. Seeing a pillar of strength collapsing down in front of you will shatter you too. Still, understand that they need you strong. So, buckle up, and offer them your shoulder.
- Manage Treatment Side effects
Chemotherapy or surgery are two common treatment options for mesothelioma. None of them are easy on patients’ bodies, and their side effects can damage other organs severely. But your loved one may have to go through it for the greater good.
Learn about managing side effects. If the patient is turning bald, do not make them feel low about their appearance. Medicines may upset your dear one’s stomach. Prepare appropriate food for them and have proper arrangements in place. Similarly, the patient may feel weak and lethargic. You can help them cope with side effects by taking required preparatory measures.
- Explore Anxiety Management Strategies
Explore meditation, exercise, yoga, or other strategies to help patients relieve stress. Some patients find solace in spending time with loved ones, while others may consider pursuing a hobby as a stressbuster.
Help them try out different stress management techniques. If they feel yoga calms their nerves, arrange a mat and schedule it for them. Supposedly, your loved one finds sitting in nature soothing; take them to the woods and let them be with themselves.
Stress management will help patients deal with mesothelioma better.
- Accept Help from Others
You are no superhero; therefore, you cannot do everything by yourself.
You may want to be with the patient 24/7 and be the first one to lend them a helping hand. Still, you need to understand that doing everything on your own can take a toll on you. There is no harm in accepting or even asking for assistance from others.
Sometimes others genuinely want to pitch in and help. You want to be there for your loved one for the long term, and it can only happen if you take care of your needs.
The Bottom Line
Mesothelioma diagnosis not only shatters the patient but also impacts their family. Loved ones can help patients in dealing with deadly cancer. The disease is incurable, and patients need support from their loved ones. By following the tips mentioned above, you can help someone suffering from malignant cancer.