A mesothelioma diagnosis leaves a lot to process. You have medical questions to ask, treatment plans to consider and family to inform. It can all be a bit overwhelming, so where should one start?
There’s a lot to do, but it may help to focus on one step at a time. The order can vary, but these are five of the first steps to take.
Learn more about your diagnosis
Talk to your doctor. Do some research. Learn what your mesothelioma diagnosis means. Diagnoses are not all the same. Your diagnosis may be more or less advanced, more or less aggressive.
Your personal health and physical fitness may also affect your prognosis. When you arm yourself with this knowledge, the Mayo Health Center suggests you can make better decisions about your treatment and may put yourself in a better position to follow through.
Decide on a treatment plan
Depending on your diagnosis, your treatment options may range from surgery to chemotherapy to the use of new technologies like Tumor Treating Fields (TTF). You may even qualify for the new treatments being tested in clinical trials. Your doctor should help you understand the goal of each possible treatment, the likelihood of its success and the possible side effects.
Explore your financial options
Your treatment and lifestyle changes are bound to cost money. These new costs may be further compounded by the reduced ability to work. However, you may be able to tap financial resources beyond your health insurance.
The fact is mesothelioma is preventable. Cases almost always start from asbestos exposure. The companies that may have exposed you to asbestos likely knew the risks and may owe you a measure of compensation. Many of them have already created asbestos trust funds that victims can access. An attorney who works with mesothelioma victims can help you trace the source of your asbestos exposure and explore your financial options.
Gather or join a support group
You’re bound to encounter some hard days after your diagnosis, and a support group may help you through them. This may mean rallying your friends and family and gathering their support. Or it may mean connecting with others who have shared the same experiences as you.
Plan for the hard days
Whether due to the disease or the side effects of your treatment, you are bound to have days you struggle to get everything done. Think about the people who can help you and talk to them in advance. Discuss how they might help you get to your appointments, support your treatment and help around the house.
You are not alone
There’s nothing easy about a mesothelioma diagnosis, but you don’t have to deal with it on your own. You can ask for the support of your friends and family. You can also seek out the professional support offered by doctors, lawyers, counselors and others who might help you discover and access the resources available to mesothelioma victims.