Mesothelioma Coping Strategies for Managing Mesothelioma Stress

For those who have recently received a mesothelioma diagnosis or had a loved one diagnosed, it can be a disheartening time, considering the high mortality rate of the disease. It’s not uncommon to experience disbelief that this is really happening to you or your loved one, and it even leads to confusion about where you may have been exposed in the first place. Other emotions that may come up include despair, sadness, and anxiety, all of which can leave you feeling a myriad of different feelings. That’s why it’s important to deal with a diagnosis with specific coping strategies in mind so that you will be prepared if the anxiety hits. 

A strong support system—whether from friends, family, or a broader network—and effective coping strategies are essential for processing difficult emotions. Balancing your emotional health is just as important as maintaining your physical health. We’ve compiled some of the most effective emotional support coping strategies to help you navigate the challenges ahead and come to terms with your diagnosis. This blog will introduce you to mesothelioma coping strategies designed to boost your mental health and morale, as well as that of your loved ones.

1) Create a Food Journal

One of the most important coping strategies to help support your immune system and fight your mesothelioma diagnosis is ensuring you consume enough nutrients. Losing the desire to eat is common from the stress of your diagnosis, treatment side effects, and pain from the tumor. Creating a food journal is a good way to monitor how much you’re eating and how different foods make you feel. Food affects everyone differently and what may be “healthy” for most may not make your body feel great.

Noting what foods work or don’t work for you during treatment will help your overall mental well-being and build a positive attitude. When tracking food consumption in your journal, you should take note of calories and proteins. Proper nutrient consumption helps build up your metabolism, muscles, and immune system. Lack of proper nutrients can lead to excess weight loss, causing delayed healing after surgery and longer recovery time between chemotherapies. 

2) Consider Mesothelioma Clinical Trials

Participating in clinical trials offers numerous mental health benefits for those suffering from mesothelioma. Since there is currently no cure for mesothelioma, these trials aim to improve treatment options, prognosis, and survival rates, with the ultimate goal of finding a cure. The hope these clinical trials bring can be a significant source of comfort and encouragement for patients, their families, and friends.

An example of a successful clinical trial was CheckMate 743, an FDA-approved combination of Opidivo and Yervoy for adults with malignant pleural mesothelioma. The combined antibodies successfully decreased tumor growth by improving the body’s T-cell function. Patients participating in clinical trials gain access to education about new treatment options. Understanding your diagnosis better will help your sense of security and confidence, and finding new innovative medical trials could also give you newfound hope. Contact one of our patient advocates if you want to learn more about clinical trials. They can provide detailed information on clinical trials and coping strategies, including clinic trials near you. 

3) Find a Qualified Emotional Support Therapist

Processing difficult information is often easier when you have a licensed professional to talk to. A mesothelioma emotional support therapist can help you understand your feelings and find ways to improve your overall mental health. During sessions, a mesothelioma emotional support therapist will ask questions such as how you feel about your diagnosis and provide effective coping mechanisms. It’s important to look for mesothelioma-focused counseling so they know what you’re going through. Therapists can be great coping strategies for mesothelioma patients to help them accept there isn’t a cure and find security in their new life. 

While any therapist specializing in cancer support can be helpful, seeking a professional with experience in mesothelioma can be particularly beneficial. Their familiarity with the disease and its emotional impact allows them to provide more targeted support and address concerns specific to mesothelioma. While therapy offers invaluable guidance, consider joining online mesothelioma support groups for additional peer-to-peer support. These communities can be a source of strength, connection, and shared experiences. Remember, finding the right therapist is a personal decision. Don’t hesitate to interview several therapists to find one whose approach and personality feel like a good fit for you, and in the meantime, feel free to navigate one of these trusted support groups.

Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation – MARF offers support groups held virtually over Zoom or Facebook, as well as in-person sessions at conferences.

Cancer Support Community – shared discussion board covering cancer insights, coping strategies, and personal experiences.

CancerCare: This non-profit provides free individual and group counseling with oncology social workers, as well as virtual counseling options.

Social Media Groups: Many organizations and advocacy groups maintain active Facebook groups where patients and families can connect and share experiences. Consider searching for “Mesothelioma Support Group” on Facebook to find relevant communities.

3.5) What to Expect in Therapy Sessions

A mesothelioma diagnosis can be life-altering, triggering a wide range of emotions such as fear, anger, sadness, and uncertainty. It may also bring up unresolved issues from your past or Anticipatory Grief. A therapist specializing in cancer support can be a valuable resource in navigating this emotional rollercoaster. They have extensive experience helping people cope with complex diagnoses like mesothelioma. During therapy sessions, you can expect to find a safe and confidential environment to express your feelings, fears, and anxieties openly. The therapist will help you explore your emotions and thoughts about your diagnosis, uncovering any underlying anxieties or fears. This self-exploration can be a powerful tool in managing your emotional response.

Together, you and your therapist will develop healthy coping mechanisms to manage difficult emotions. These strategies may include relaxation techniques, mindfulness exercises, journaling, or creative expression. Therapists can teach you specific techniques to manage stress, anxiety, and depression, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to reframe negative thoughts. They can also help you accept the realities of your diagnosis, navigate the emotional challenges, and build a strong support system by guiding you in effective communication with loved ones and accessing additional resources. Therapy is a collaborative process, so don’t hesitate to ask questions and express your concerns openly. Finding the right therapist takes time, but feeling comfortable and trusting their approach is important.

4) Speak with a Friend About Depression

If you have depression or experience feelings of depression, you don’t have to face it alone and you should lean on family, friends, or local groups for support. Emotionally leaning on those close to you is a useful coping strategy. Sharing your feelings of depression with friends can be a helpful way to cope with the challenges of mesothelioma. Discussing how you feel about your diagnosis can provide clarity by opening a space to process your thoughts and feelings and gain clarity. Sharing your struggles can also strengthen your bond with your family or friends, as it shows vulnerability and builds trust, allowing them to offer support and understanding.

While your friend may not be a therapist, they can still provide invaluable support by listening without judgment, offering a shoulder to cry on, or simply being a distraction when needed. When choosing a friend to confide in, select someone empathetic and non-judgmental who is a good listener. Don’t feel pressured to share everything at once; start by mentioning you’ve been feeling down and gradually open up as you feel comfortable. Explain how their support could be helpful and be patient, understanding that their role is to listen and offer support, not to provide professional advice. Remember, sharing your struggles is a sign of strength, and a supportive friend can be a valuable asset in your fight against depression.

5) Seek Legal Representation for Mesothelioma Diagnosis

A mesothelioma diagnosis can be devastating, not just physically but also financially, due to the high cost of treatment. As we have previously mentioned, Mesothelioma, caused by asbestos exposure, may entitle you to legal compensation through a lawsuit if negligence or safety violations were involved. This legal compensation can significantly ease the financial burden and enhance your ability to cope emotionally since you won’t have to worry about high treatment costs. These legal settlement compensation amounts could cover medical expenses, lost wages, and future medical needs, reducing anxiety and allowing access to better treatment options. By partnering with an experienced mesothelioma attorney specializing in asbestos litigation, you can navigate complex legal processes with confidence and focus on healing.

If you’re considering legal action, consulting with an experienced mesothelioma lawyer is crucial and we can connect you to our team of professionals. They can provide the expertise needed to pursue compensation effectively. Resources like the American Bar Association and the National Cancer Legal Resource Center can assist in finding legal representation. Mesothelioma Hub is committed to providing comprehensive resources and support for those affected by mesothelioma. Visit our website for information on the disease, treatment options, coping strategies, and inspiring patient stories. We’re here to empower you with the knowledge and resources needed to navigate this challenging journey and always connect you to a medical or legal professional.

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Mesothelioma Support Team

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