How to Support Mesothelioma Patients from Afar

Cancer & Caregiving

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people around the world do things. With social distancing, cities on lockdown and not being able to be with loved ones, it’s been hard on everyone.

This is especially true for mesothelioma patients and their families. During these times, not-so-distant family members often seem very far away. 

When I was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, we weren’t in a pandemic. I really appreciated the support from my friends and family. Even people I didn’t know sent words and prayers for my healing.

After you’re diagnosed with mesothelioma and are undergoing treatment, you can sometimes feel alone. The mere fact that you have this disease, and you’re the only one within your family who has it, can be isolating.

In today’s world we have come up with so many different ways to communicate, to see each other without actually being there in person, you name it. There are many ways you can show support for a family or friend who is dealing with a mesothelioma diagnosis

Mesothelioma Patients Might Not Ask for Help

Before I go into ways you can help, let me first say this to anyone going through a journey with mesothelioma: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes  – and I admit this has been me – we can allow our pride to get in the way.

There were times when I was hesitant to ask for help. I didn’t want to seem needy, and didn’t want people to assume I was weak just because I needed assistance with something.

When people asked me if I needed anything I would say “no,” knowing darn good and well I needed or wanted something. 

I learned that it’s all out of fear – fear of what others will think, fear of what they will say. We all know what fear is, right? “False Evidence Appearing Real.” 

It didn’t take me long to break that habit. One day I was in the middle of doing something around the house and my husband asked if I needed help. I quickly replied, “No, I’m good.” My body was weak but I was telling myself I could do things without any help. I ended up falling and bruising my knee. After that, I asked for help even before I attempted to do something.

So, when family, friends, neighbors, co-workers etc. volunteer to help out or ask if you want anything, just let them know what you need.

Lending a Hand from a Distance

Although there is still a pandemic going on, there are several ways to help someone, even from another state. 

  • Ask them how you can be of assistance. Sometimes if you ask in this way, they will be more receptive to letting you know the things they need. 
  • FaceTime. Scheduling moments like this are so precious, just sitting and talking and encouraging them.
  • Pray for them. One of my mottos is that prayer can go where we can’t. If they solicit your prayers, pray at that exact moment.
  • Provide food. Ask them for the name of their favorite restaurant and order delivery to their door. You could have groceries delivered to them as well.
  • “Thinking of you” cards. I know nowadays people are sending emails, but it’s very thoughtful to send a card in the mail with maybe a gift card that will be of assistance to them. 
  • House cleaning. Housekeeping may be the last thing on the to-do list when you’re battling mesothelioma. It might be nice to hire someone to help tidy up their home.
  • Call a ride service. Scheduling Lyft or Uber transportation to help them get to and from doctor appointments is a great way to help if you don’t live nearby.

While I was battling mesothelioma, I had family members bring food, pray for me, go to the grocery store, cook for me and just come and sit with me. Even 14 years later I remember so vividly the family and friends who visited me in the hospital and at home and just kept me company or watched me sleep. I will never forget it.

Even if you can’t be there in person, you can still make sure your loved one knows you care.

We may be in a pandemic, but let’s not forget our family members and friends with mesothelioma. Reach out and lend a helping hand, even if you’re in another state. There’s always something you can do to help. Remember, you just might make their day! 

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