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Dealing with a Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Oct 10, 2007
There are as many different reactions to learning that you or someone you care about has mesothelioma. A mesothelioma diagnosis turns your entire life upside down, re-plans your future for you and puts you in the position of having to make some very difficult choices. It's no wonder that the most common first reactions are disbelief, anger and grief. A mesothelioma diagnosis gives you a great deal to be angry about, the loss of your future to grieve and for many, the attempt to deal with having been betrayed by those they trusted to take care of them. You'll read a great deal about the reactions you should expect - and most people will experience those reactions. It's important to remember, though, that there is no "standard". Whatever your reactions, no matter how different they seem, your feelings are valid.

In the coming days and weeks, you and your family will be facing many decisions about your health care and your financial options. The need to make these decisions - from what sort of treatment to accept to whether you should pursue legal action - comes at a time that is already emotionally draining. It's easy to become overwhelmed, anxious and depressed. There are resources that can help you deal with a mesothelioma diagnosis more effectively - emotionally, practically, medically and legally. Finding them and using them can lessen the effects that a mesothelioma diagnosis has on you and your entire family.

Your Doctor
Your doctor is your most important medical resource, so it's vital that you have a doctor in whom you can place your trust. If you're not comfortable asking questions of your doctor and being an active participant in your care, you may want to seek a different doctor with whom you are comfortable. Alternatively, if it's just not your nature to be proactive - and that's not a failing - you may want to find a supportive advocate to come with you to medical appointments who CAN ask the questions and get the answers that you need.

Mesothelioma Support Groups
Nearly every major city has support groups for people dealing with a mesothelioma diagnosis and its aftermath. While they may have originated to offer emotional support to families and patients, many support groups are resources in other ways as well. It's a great place to share and find information about procedures, possible new treatments and financial and legal resources that exist to help people in the same position.

Alternative and Complementary Therapies
Traditional medicine has come a long way in recognizing the benefits of alternative and complementary medicine, especially when dealing with catastrophic illnesses like mesothelioma. While you should be suspicious of any therapy that offers you a cure - there is no known cure for mesothelioma - you'll find a great deal of value in therapies like massage, meditation, nutrition and exercise. In fact, the American Cancer Society recognizes a number of these complementary therapies as being helpful in maintaining a higher quality of life while undergoing treatment for cancer and mesothelioma. Among the most beneficial:

Physical Exercise can help preserve muscle and bodily function, and make it easier for you to maintain your mobility and independence after your mesothelioma diagnosis and treatments. According to the latest research, being physically active boosts your immune system, decreases fatigue and improves your spirits. Check for programs designed especially for those undergoing cancer treatment in your community.

Nutrition is even more important when you're dealing with chemotherapy, radiation therapy and other treatments for mesothelioma. Nutritional therapies involving vitamins and herbs can help replace some of the nutrients that your body loses and help you feel better sooner and longer.

Hypnosis, meditation and other mind-body therapies can be very helpful in dealing with the side effects of treatments and to help in maintaining your mood and quality of life.

Legal Resources
Unlike most types of cancer, a mesothelioma diagnosis is more than just a medical issue. Because mesothelioma's only known cause is exposure to asbestos, and because of the asbestos' industries deliberate concealment of the dangers of working with asbestos, those with a mesothelioma diagnosis often have legal recourses. An experienced mesothelioma attorney can help you sort out the legal aspects of your mesothelioma diagnosis and in exercising your legal rights to compensation for your illness. In many cases, experienced mesothelioma law firms can get a settlement for you without even going to court. If you're unsure of your rights with regards to your mesothelioma diagnosis, contact a local expert in asbestos litigation to learn more.
About the Author
Nick Johnson is lead counsel with Johnson Law Group. Johnson represents plaintiffs in many states and focuses on injury cases involving Fen-Phen and PPH, Paxil, Mesothelioma and Nursing Home Abuse. Call Nick Johnson at 1-888-311-5522 or visit http://www.johnsonlawgroup.com
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