Whether there was a suspicion that mesothelioma might be in the cards or not, mesothelioma is a difficult diagnosis to hear from your doctor. Taking the steps to create a support system can make a significant difference when you are struggling with your treatment plan and the feelings that come with your diagnosis.
These are the people you will want to keep in mind when you are reaching out for support.
Medical and support professionals
The first people who will be part of your support system will likely be the medical professionals coordinating your care and helping you decide your treatment options. These are the people who will understand and can offer support when you have uncomfortable side effects from treatment or when you want to understand how the cancer is progressing or responding to treatment.
You will also want to consider joining a support group for people with mesothelioma. A support group will have people who are currently dealing with a diagnosis and people who are supporting their loved ones through the process of treating mesothelioma. All of them are potential people who can help with your perspective and who can provide advice from having gone through the same situation.
Family, Friends, spiritual leaders, and public education/advocacy groups
While they may understand your medical needs, no one will be able to give you the same kind of support as the people who knew you before your diagnosis. You family members were probably the first people you talked to when you found out you had mesothelioma. These are the people you will count on when you are experiencing the worst parts of battling advanced cancer.
Although they may not have been the first to know, your friends will also be a critical support to you while you are going through challenging times. Your friends can also be a tremendous resource when members of your family are unable to provide support. Once your friends know what you are dealing with, they will probably expect you to reach out.
Whether you simply need a supportive person to talk to or you are looking to put everything into perspective, a pastor or spiritual leader can help you along your journey to make sense of your situation. Even if you have never been part of a church or congregation, reaching out to and participating in a spiritual group can be incredibly helpful.
Health permitting, some people, including their family, find relief through participating in a public advocacy organization related to preventing mesothelioma and educating the public about the dangers of asbestos. One such organization is the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization.
The ADAO is the largest United States-based independent asbestos victims’ organization today.
Support is important
No matter who makes up the people in your support system, the most important thing is to have a support system. Yours may look different from someone else’s but simply having support at all will help you on your journey.