For some patients and families being diagnosed with mesothelioma brings them in contact with other people that they would never had met before, have little in common with, live nowhere near each other, are from totally different socioeconomic backgrounds. These relationships can be some of the most comforting for both the patients diagnosed with mesothelioma, and their families.
Recently while seeing a patient at a hospitality house near the hospital, one of the patients needed immediate medical assistance. After calling for an ambulance the patient was transported to the Emergency Room for treatment. The family was being supported by another mesothelioma patient and his family that they had become friendly with. Talking to the mesothelioma patient that was at the house after the other had gone to the E.R., the concern for the other patient was paramount. He and his family were quietly reflecting on the events, how worried they were about the other patient and his family. They were sharing stories of how they had met and how close they had become over the past few weeks. There was a bond between the families as well as the patients.
The sense of community is a powerful one in the small mesothelioma community. To be diagnosed with a rare cancer, seek treatment, and live with this cancer, requires support. Often the support comes from other patients and families. These bonds between people unite them in a way that is deep and meaningful.
As we enter the Holiday season in 2016, we are reminded in many different ways, that what unites us can be as simple and important as concern for others. Mesothelioma is a cancer for which there is no cure-yet. It can also remind us about how truly important our relationships are, as we give thanks this year.