Beyond the physical fatigue, nausea and pain that mesothelioma causes, it can also has an impact on your mental health. In order to maintain the highest quality of life possible, it is important that you pay attention to these affects as well.
For many people diagnosed with mesothelioma, and many of their loved ones as well, mesothelioma causes anxiety, depression, grief, or some combination of all three.
Depression is the most commonly experienced emotion in the face of a cancer diagnosis, and mesothelioma patients are no exception to that rule. According to the National Cancer Institute, somewhere between 15 and 25% of cancer patients suffer from depression, a mood disorder characterized by feelings of emptiness, helplessness, fatigue, and worthlessness.
Anxiety in the face of mesothelioma can take many shapes. Some of the questions that people worry about include:
- What does the future hold?
- How much time do I have left?
- Will my family be okay?
- How will I pay for my medical expenses?
- How much pain will I have to endure?
- Will my next scan show improvement or relapse?
Grief is usually associated with the emotions that follow a death, but mesothelioma patients and those who care about them begin to feel the pain of loss almost immediately after a diagnosis is made. This is known as anticipatory grief caused by the expectation of a loss: it can include shock, denial, anger, helplessness, and all of the other emotions typically associated wit. Losing a loved one.
The fact that all of these feelings are normal does not mean that you have to suffer through them alone. Emotional support should be part of your overall mesothelioma treatment. Speak with your physician to see what type of support is available as part of their protocol, and speak with your clergy, your family, and mesothelioma support groups.
The Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net are also here to help. Call us today at 1-800-692-8608.