Information for Families of Mesothelioma Victims
The victims of mesothelioma extend well beyond those who are actually diagnosed with the disease. If someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you are facing your own unique emotional and psychological – and possibly financial – challenges, as well. Supporting someone who has cancer is a draining task, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The families of mesothelioma victims often need support as well.
Of course, you want to support your loved one to the best of your abilities, but it can be difficult sometimes to know exactly how to do that. Your loved one may be irritable one moment and withdrawn the next; you may occasionally find yourself the target of anger that is unrelated to anything you said or did. While it is important that you be as understanding and compassionate as possible during this trying time, it is equally important to remember that you, too, are entitled to feel hurt, angry, depressed, and confused, even if these emotions are caused by the behaviors of your loved one.
Whether you are the spouse, child, grandchild, sibling, or parent of a mesothelioma victim, there is certain information you may find helpful as you try to cope with your loved one’s disease. We invite you to read through this page and then, along with your loved one, contact a mesothelioma attorney to learn more about your rights and legal options.
It’s Okay to Argue Occasionally
A major illness such as mesothelioma can create tremendous strain on family relationships. Often, family members suppress their own feelings in order to “be strong” for their ill loved one. They might even feel guilty about feelings of frustration and anger, bottling them up rather than expressing them, thinking that they are sparing their loved one. In reality, it is far healthier to express this frustration and anger, even if doing so results in an argument. Occasional arguments may even help the mesothelioma sufferer to feel as though life has returned to “normal.”
A family that is emotionally open and honest is far more likely to endure tragedy than one that is emotionally closed.
Know How and When to Help
People who are ill are often hesitant to ask for help for a variety of reasons, most commonly because they don’t want to be thought weak. It may be up to you to ask your loved one how you can be most helpful to him or her at any given time. Sometimes, he or she may simply want someone to talk to or to watch television with. On other occasions, you may find yourself having to play the role of caregiver, administering medication, cooking, cleaning the house, or acting as a liaison between your loved one and his or her medical team.
It may at times be difficult to know when your loved one is refusing help out of pride or simply because he or she wishes to be left alone. Sometimes it is best to give your loved one some time to himself or herself and check back in a little later.
If there are tasks that you feel you cannot fulfill, or if you are simply becoming exhausted, it is important that you communicate this to your loved one. It may be in the best interests of you and your family in the long run if you seek assistance from a professional caregiver.
Appointments with physicians and lawyers can be intimidating to anyone; they are particularly frightening for someone who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Accompanying your loved one to his or her medical and legal appointments is among the most selfless and helpful tasks you can perform.
Seek Support and Guidance
Just as your ill loved one can benefit from support groups and psychological counseling, so can you and the rest of your family. Family counseling sessions can be particularly important to reinforcing the familial bonds that can become incredibly strained during such a difficult time.
There are support groups comprised entirely of people who are related to cancer sufferers. You may find tremendous strength and solace in exchanging stories and discussing your emotions with others who are going through similarly life-altering experiences.
Take Pleasure in the Little Things
Your loved one has mesothelioma, and there is nothing that you could have done or can do now to change that fact. It is grossly unfair to you and your family, and you deserve to feel whatever rage, disappointment, and despair you are currently feeling.
That said, the time you have with your loved one is precious. Continue to take delight in those things that have always brought your family joy. If you enjoy playing board games, continue to play board games. If you engage in lively debates at the dinner table, debate away. There will be times when mesothelioma casts its shadow over your thoughts and emotions, and you have no option but to confront its presence in your family’s lives. That is inevitable. However, you will still have moments when everything feels normal and even happy. Take pleasure in those moments now, and you will have memories that will console you for years to come.
Contact a Mesothelioma Attorney
Your family may be entitled to significant compensation for everything that you have been forced to endure. Contact an experienced attorney in your area for a complimentary case evaluation.