Communication is essential in life and even more so when dealing with a new diagnosis of mesothelioma. Dealing with the news on an emotional level and on an intellectual level can be overwhelming. Trying to educate yourself about this rare, very complex cancer is best done with support from family and medical experts.
A recent study found that 60% of people did not understand the instructions that they received from their doctor appointments. Often what is said and what is heard are very different. How do you make sure that you and your medical team are on the same page? One way is to bring someone with you that can also hear what is being said. When you are under stress and emotionally overwhelmed you are more likely to misread people. If possible you need to stay in the moment. The emotions of anger, fear and anxiety are all very normal responses. As you gather all the information that you need about your treatment, try to channel your emotions in a positive direction.
One of the difficulties of dealing with a new diagnosis of mesothelioma is there are no black and white answers. Questions are asked and sometimes it seems that there are no satisfactory answers. We are used to having some control in our lives, and suddenly you are on a path that has few signs on it.
What are you willing to do to fight this disease? This is a question that only you can answer after talking to your mesothelioma doctor. Do their recommendations work for you? Is the treatment plan one which you understand?
This past week, we observed two patients in two different situations. One was not going to come to a mesothelioma center- he was going to stay close to home and have his local doctor treat him. The local doctor was the one uncomfortable with his decision. He wanted the patient to explore some options in a mesothelioma center. He talked to the patient and his family multiple times, educated them on options and now the patient will be seen at a mesothelioma center. The second patient had scoured the internet, and found out as much information as possible, made her own appointment and was also going to be seen at the mesothelioma center.
Communication played a critical part in the mesothelioma journey of both the patients and families. Communication is a two-way street involving listening and talking. Before you make the decisions regarding your treatment options with mesothelioma, be sure to gather the facts, and listen with an open mind to your options. Being comfortable with your care team is essential. Being able to ask the tough questions and hear the answers that are given will help both the patient and the family deal with mesothelioma. Communication styles vary, know what your options are, and what you are comfortable with- it is your journey.