Meet GUEST BLOGGER Faith Franz. Faith is a writer for The Mesothelioma Center, an organization that provides support and resources for people and families with this rare disease. Faith also likes to spread the word about the benefits of alternative medicine.
Support for Mesothelioma Patients
If you were diagnosed with lung cancer, you wouldn’t take chemotherapy drugs that treat leukemia. If there were malignant tumors on your kidney, you wouldn’t have surgery on your ovaries. So why, if you were diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, should you settle for a support group that’s not designed specifically for mesothelioma patients?
Until recently, patients with this rare cancer have had few specialized care options – on both the medical and the emotional side of the spectrum. But as more research goes into this asbestos-related malignancy, doctors and social workers alike are learning how to address mesothelioma’s unique challenges.
Take, for instance, The Mesothelioma Center’s virtual support group. Hosted by Dana Nolan, a licensed mental health counselor, this group focuses exclusively on mesothelioma-related topics. It’s designed to fill the gap left by general support groups (or the lung cancer groups that many patients turn to in the absence of a mesothelioma-specific network).
In this free, telephone/online support group, patients and their loved ones are guided through emotionally-loaded issues such as:
- Deciding when to forego cisplatin, carboplatin and other mesothelioma drugs in favor of alternative treatments
- Adjusting to reduced physical abilities (when symptoms like breathlessness and chest pain get in the way of everyday activities)
- Overcoming the financial challenges of paying for treatment, traveling to national treatment centers and taking a leave of absence from work
- Discussing worst-case scenarios, legal arrangements and end-of-life care directives with relatives
Patients can also connect with others who share their same diagnosis. While it may be difficult for them to find other mesothelioma patients in their city, they can combat feelings of isolation by reaching out to other patients across the nation and around the world. Here, fellow survivors can share the therapies that they’ve found successful, outline the side effects they’ve experienced and explain the coping techniques that have improved their lives.
The group serves as a safe, confidential place to give and receive valuable emotional support. Patients are free to share as much – or as little – of their personal lives as they’d like, and the moderator will make sure patients aren’t inundated with unsolicited advice.
If you’d like to register for the next session (The Mesothelioma Center hosts one each month), simply fill out the quick information form. You’ll receive a number to call and an access code to enter on the day of the meeting. Patient advocates are also available to help you through the simple registration process.
Read more about the wide variety of available cancer support services.