If mesothelioma is diagnosed early enough and therapies are used to keep the growth of cancerous tissue under control, life can be extended by several months or even years. However, because meso is so difficult to diagnose, it is not detected until the cancer has spread significantly and treatment such as chemotherapy, surgery or radiation cannot be tolerated because the patient is so weak.We know how debilitating and emotionally draining this disease can be. Our principal attorney, Michael Throneberry, personally experienced the devastation mesothelioma can bring when his father in law was diagnosed with mesothelioma and passed away from the disease in a span of just 16 months. Our goal is to support our clients and their families, helping them to get treatment and securing compensation to cover medical care.
Managing Pain With Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is an exceptionally painful disease, and becomes even more painful as the disease progresses. At times, the pain can become unbearable and even cause delirium. Managing pain is a crucial part of meso care.
Pain management therapies may include:
- Procedures to remove fluid build up from the abdominal cavity or chest cavity (Paracentisis or pleurodesis)
- Chemotherapy or radiation aimed at killing cancerous tissue or slowing its growth
- IV or oral medications
- Epidural implants, where pain medicine is delivered directly to the patient through the spine
Speaking with your doctor about your pain levels is crucial to getting the pain management you need. It's important that you ask questions about how effective your pain management therapies will be and what the side effects are for each particular method of pain relief.
Improving Quality of Life
Life becomes precious when you are diagnosed with mesothelioma. However, when you are living with daily pain, the days, weeks and months you have left to enjoy life are diminished. Patients living with mesothelioma may experience:
- Inability to work
- Consistent fatigue
- Inability to sleep
- Sadness, depression and feelings of loneliness
- Decreased joy in things that were once pleasurable
- Decreased appetite
- Inability to travel
- Caregiver exhaustion
The pain caused by mesothelioma can erode away a person's will and ability to fight the disease. A decreased appetite results in decreased nutrition, which causes inactivity, exhaustion and depression. As this goes on, a person's immune system will weaken and their ability to tolerate treatment will diminish.
Emotional Support is Critical
It is just as important for patients to receive emotional support from their family when dealing with mesothelioma as it is to receive physical treatments. Anxiety, fear and depression can worsen meso pain.
Care for mesothelioma patients should include:
- Explanation of the diagnosis in a way the patient can understand
- Discussing thoughts and feelings about the end of life
- Support for the patient's family
- Information about treatment options that are available
The Psychological Impact of Mesothelioma
Receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis is scary, but negative emotions can make the process more difficult when time is limited. It is essential that meso sufferers come to terms with their disease in order to go through treatment, as well as for their family to understand what the patient will be going through psychologically so they can offer the best emotional support possible.
- If a patient is in shock over a diagnosis, they may have trouble understanding information about their disease and agreeing to treatment.
- If a patient is in denial about their diagnosis, as it may cause a patient to refuse treatment or refuse to discuss the disease. However, many times it is friends and family who are in denial, which robs the patient of critical emotional support.
- It is normal to be afraid to die, but overwhelming fear can interfere with treatment. The patient should understand the truth about their prognosis but also know that with treatment, many other meso sufferers live for years.
- It is also normal for a patient to be afraid of the pain and side effects of cancer treatment. Although most people hear horror stories of how difficult chemo and other treatments can be, modern therapies are much less debilitating. Your doctor is the best resource about what treatments are available to you and what side effects they may cause.
- Although anger is another natural emotion felt after a mesothelioma diagnosis, many patients mistakenly direct it towards their loved ones or caregivers. Although you should vent your anger in a healthy way, you should also talk to your loved ones when you are not feeling as angry
- Counseling with a psychologist or a spiritual adviser can be very helpful for both the patient and family and friends.
If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or have been experiencing symptoms of the disease, it is essential that you contact your doctor as quickly as possible, and then contact the Throneberry Law Group. We can help you secure treatment and compensation for the hard road ahead, and we represent clients across the nation.