Tips for Coping with the Stress of Mesothelioma
- Health & Wellness
- February 13, 2012
Dealing with mesothelioma can create a lot of stress. Many patients feel pressure because there suddenly is much about their lives than they cannot control.
Knowing some tips to help you deal with the stress can make it easier. Learn what you can do to help you deal with accumulating stressand not become too overwhelmed. Here are some tips you can use to cope with the stress of asbestos cancer:
Research details about the cancer
You may have never of even heard of mesothelioma before your diagnosis. The doctor may have given you some information, but you will have lots of questions. New patients should compile a list of honest questions they want answered. Some common questions:
- What caused my cancer?
- Can mesothelioma be passed on to my children?
- Where is the cancer located?
- How do you treat it?
- What are my treatment options?
- What are the pros/cons of my treatment options?
- How much time will treatments give me?
Write about it
Some patients begin a journal or start a blog to help them cope. These are both good ideas, and many patients use these outlines to talk about their challenges with their disease.
Even if you’re not keen on writing, you can still participate in conversations by leaving comments. Many bloggers in the cancer community are active and gladly will respond to your comments.
Most people who are new to blogging may find it difficult to get into a groove to write. But when you are feeling stressed, take a moment and write down what is bothering you. For example, you may start asking yourself:
- What caused the stress?
- How did it make you feel?
- How did you react?
- What made you feel better?
You can always blog about things not related to your cancer. Write about what you accomplished today or throughout the week.
Find a Support Group
You may have heard by now that mesothelioma cancer is rare — only 2,000 to 3,000 people a year are diagnosed in the United States. It is uncommon for groups of mesothelioma patients to be located near one another. However many hospitals and faith based groups hold support groups throughout the nation.
You can also reach out online as a great way to connect with others who have other types of cancer. Local support groups may be tough to find, and traveling may not be an option, but finding support groups online is easy.
Patients from across the world can also share stories by interacting through sites like the Mesothelioma Facebook or IHadCancer. Your message can instantly travel throughout the online community and anyone in the group can respond. These resources often provide knowledge, support and guidance.
Many survivors who find themselves on Facebook are surprised about the level of support. People from all over the world can meet to talk about mesothelioma, banning asbestos, raising awareness and planning fundraisers.
Other Helpful Tips
At some point, you can anticipate stress and begin to prevent it from negatively affecting you. When you know something is going to cause you stress, don’t sit back and wait. Instead, take some time to decompress with:
- Breathing exercises
- Short walks
- Your favorite activities
Do you knowwhat stresses you out? How do you adapt to stressful situations? Ask yourself these questions and try to actively workto minimize negative stress in your life. You doctor will also be able to help you balance your stress. The bottom line is to not let stress affect your recovery.
What suggestions do you have to help deal with stress? Leave a comment below or let us know on Facebook.
Ben Leer is an outreach coordinator with The Mesothelioma Center. He works toward increasing education and awareness of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. Part of Ben's job is to reach out and engage with patients, caregivers and family members on our online communities.