There’s no right or wrong way to deal with the reality of a mesothelioma diagnosis. But it can often be a slippery slope when patients decide to hide from their illness or fall prey to negative thoughts.
Mesothelioma may be taking its toll on your body, but you can take back control of your life with these 6 tips to overcome destructive thoughts and give yourself the chance to enjoy once life again.
1. Educate Yourself
Whenever we have the slightest ailment, the temptation to Google our symptoms can often be too much (and in most cases, we only read what we want to see). However, after receiving your diagnosis, it’s essential to do as much research as possible to become a proactive patient.
Take it slowly and tackle a new subject every few days to ensure you remain clear-headed and methodical. Make notes where you can, and consult your doctor if you come across conflicting or confusing information.
Learn how to manage your stress, what nutritional information you should take on board and how much exercise your body can handle at this challenging time. Take it day by day, but aim to become an expert in your strain of mesothelioma.
2. Ask a Lot of Questions
Your doctor is there to inform you about your mesothelioma diagnosis and possible treatment, but it can be difficult to take everything in while you’re sat in the hot seat. Bring a pad of paper and a pen to all appointments and jot down a list of questions you have before you go into the treatment room, and make notes throughout the appointment itself.
If possible, it’s a great idea to bring someone with you and ask them to be the note-taker, but if you are going alone then make sure you ask every question you can—no matter how irrelevant they may seem. Mesothelioma is incredibly rare, and it pays to be armed with enough information to seek the correct treatment.
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3. Share Your Journey
Whether you find solace in a friend, family member or a complete stranger, it’s important to share your thoughts and feelings. Nobody should have to fight mesothelioma alone. If you feel too scared to share your innermost thoughts with those closest to you, seek help from counselors or online forums where you can talk openly and honestly about how you feel.
4. Take Time for Yourself
It can feel as though life ascends into absolute chaos with a mesothelioma diagnosis, but the most critical battle ahead of you it that of the mind. Stress has been linked to having a negative impact on the immune system, which leaves the body unable to fight back. Keep your mind and body healthy by taking time to indulge in the things you want to do.
Go for a walk around your favorite park, meditate, take a long, hot soak on an evening, read the new bestseller or book tickets to that theatre production you always wanted to see—do something that will lift your spirits. There will be plenty of time to focus on your diagnosis, but take at least an hour out of each day to do something for yourself, and enjoy it!
5. Look Towards the Future
With no one-size-fits-all cure for mesothelioma, the future can often seem rather bleak. However, with a range of procedures and post-operative treatments available, this isn’t the end of your journey. Depression and anxiety can have adverse effects on the whole body, so it’s imperative to stay positive, keep smiling and look forward.
This is your opportunity to live life to the fullest, so focus on what you want to enjoy and let go of past regrets.
6. Never Give Up
Everyone copes with cancer differently, but it’s impossible to run away from the facts. Inevitably, you must come to terms with your diagnosis and put your best foot forward towards your future. If you’re feeling a little low, try to boost your serotonin levels with some gentle exercise.
If you’re feeling lonely, reach out to a friend and reminisce about the good old days. If you’re feeling tired, allow yourself to have an early night—you’ll be amazed at what a good night’s sleep can do!
If you need support coping with your mesothelioma diagnosis, contact our Patient Advocates today. Call us at (800) 584-4151 or receive our FREE Mesothelioma Help Guide for additional support resources.