- Wait? What?
- I wonder? Why? Or What?
- Couldn’t we at least?
- How can I help?
- What truly matters to me?
- And the bonus question: Did you get what you wanted out of life – even so?
Thinking about the patients and families that have been diagnosed with mesothelioma these questions asked about their lives, seems to put mesothelioma into perspective. Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer. The diagnosis throws patients and families into a world that they never planned on being involved in. How can they make sense of this diagnosis and go forward? These questions can prepare us for anything life throws our way, including a cancer diagnosis.
Imagine you have just been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. You and your families first response is wait? What? By asking this question you are looking for clarification. You are looking for answers, but asking for time to process what you have been told. You want time to slow down get the facts, make sure you understand.
Then you wonder why? Or if? – the second question. With the diagnosis of mesothelioma, you might think- when was I exposed to asbestos? Or what if we seek expert opinions- where and how? How might you improve the situation?
The third question – Couldn’t we at least? – can help you to get moving. Maybe get an opinion at a mesothelioma center, investigate a clinical trial, explore your options. This question enables a patient and family to move forward. Maybe there is fear in travelling or leaving your comfort zone, but by recognizing these things you can then make progress toward some action.
The fourth question, How can I help? – this can be a time for families to respect what the patient wants. The patient is the expert in their lives- you recognize that and help with what they want to do.
The fifth question is what really matters to me? How do you want to spend the time you have left- what relationships are important?
The bonus question is- Did you get what you wanted out of life- even so? This question is the one that sums it all up. Have you lived your life how you wanted? Despite being diagnosed with cancer has your life been fulfilling? Are you happy with how you have lived? Your relationships? Before, and during your cancer diagnosis. Even so- in spite of the ups and downs of life are you happy with your life?
By reviewing these questions in the context of your everyday life it could help us all prepare for the time when life gives us an unpleasant unexpected surprise and be happy for all the good things in your life.