It’s likely that your first encounter with the word “mesothelioma” came as the result of a diagnosis. After a short bit of research, you might have learned that it’s a rare cancer. It’s caused by asbestos. It forms in the membranous linings around various organs, including the lungs. And there are roughly 3,000 new cases each year in America.
But the statistics don’t tell the whole story. Not even when you factor in life expectancies and treatment outcomes. This is because mesothelioma doesn’t happen to statistics. It happens to people. It affects people. Victims and their families. And the statistics don’t understand what you’re going through.
You and your family are not alone
You are not alone if the diagnosis came as something of a shock. Families and doctors often mistake the early signs of mesothelioma for other things like colds or pneumonia. The coughing, chest pains and difficulty breathing are all signs of many far more common ailments. As a result, you can find many stories about families who reacted with shock and surprise.
You’ll also find some tough stories about the hardships the victims and their families suffer. But the truth is important. It’s good to know that other families have gone through similar circumstances. It’s also important to catch the undercurrent that runs through nearly all these stories: Love.
Sometimes, you hear about families who take the news as a call to prioritize their time together. Sometimes, you read about people who suffer the loss of a father or mother before receiving their own diagnoses. Then, when they say they “feel truly blessed to be here” after battling their cancers into remission, you know they have earned that sentiment.
You can find a support group
While it can help to read about other people and their stories, sometimes you might want someone to listen to you. Or you might want someone to help you with daily chores and the practical aspects of treatment.
In these cases, it’s worth checking on the support groups and resources in your area. The American Cancer Society provides a portal to a variety of different services:
- Rides to treatment
- Lodging during treatment
- Support groups
These resources do not focus exclusively on mesothelioma, but other cancer survivors may understand a good deal of your struggles. When your experiences are more specific to the disease, you might still find some more mesothelioma-specific resources. Your attorney might even be able to point you in the right direction. After all, attorneys who have a great deal of experience with mesothelioma cases often keep close track of the most current resources.
Get the help you need
Mesothelioma is tough on both victims and their families. Relatives often help victims get the help and support they need. This is natural and understandable, but it’s important to remember that mesothelioma doesn’t just affect the victims. It creates new challenges for your whole family, and you deserve help and support.
You are not alone, and you deserve support. Caring for a loved one with cancer is hard. Sometimes, it’s enough to know that others have shared your experience. Sometimes, you need more. When you do need more, that’s okay. It’s important to accept your limitations and ask for help when you need it. The best way to get through a diagnosis and treatment is working together as a team.