A diagnosis of malignant mesothelioma is one of the most challenging an individual can receive. The condition is always considered fatal, and in most cases patients succumb to their illness within two years of their condition being identified. The situation is made even worse by the fact that the asbestos-related disease is entirely preventable, as all who know and care for the victim are all-too-aware that they are about to lose their loved one as a result of negligence. All of these factors combined can make it very difficult to know what to say or do to help.
Many People Choose To Avoid Mesothelioma Patients
The discomfort of confronting mesothelioma in a friend or family member can unfortunately lead many people to stay away, just when the person most needs their support. Among those who stay within the immediate circle, others may say the wrong thing, despite having the best intentions. Experts and people who have been through the process say the secret to providing real and meaningful support is to stay in the person’s life and spend time talking about the same things that you did before the diagnosis rather than talking about the cancer itself.
The other thing that works for mesothelioma patients and patients diagnosed with any type of challenging illness is simple acts of kindness. Whether that means offering to run errands, cook a meal, do the laundry or just sit and watch television with the patient, it is the small, thoughtful acts that count the most and provide the biggest boost.
Avoid Acting The Expert or Being Too Much of an Optimist
It is nice to be positive when speaking to a patient diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, but that doesn’t mean that you should tell them what they should or shouldn’t be doing in terms of treatment, or of giving them false hopes. Mesothelioma patients know that they are dealing with a terminal diagnosis, so you are far better off saying nothing at all then saying that they will fight their way through, or that they need to remain strong, or positive.
Providing support to a mesothelioma patient can be painful, because you are dealing with your own emotions and fears at the same time that you are trying to be there for them. For access to helpful resources, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.