Coping with a life-changing diagnosis and setting your own goals

Writing on, nurse specialist Lisa Hyde-Barrett reminds us that being diagnosed with an asbestos related disease is life changing. Patients handle this differently. Everyone is unique and so there is no right or wrong way. She says, ‘We must allow ourselves or our family members to feel their fear, or anger, or whatever emotion they may be feeling.’

Waves of different emotions

Often she hears people apologising for their reactions or their family’s actions. Lisa writes, ‘Facing a life changing diagnosis is different from any other challenge you may have faced over your lifetime… The person that receives the diagnosis and their friends and families’  will experience ‘waves of different emotions’.

Setting goals

One patient explained to her that his goal was ‘to get back to being an active person… He wanted to get back to his previous level of activity as soon as possible…’ He explained that ‘when he was outside with nature it gave him a calm feeling, and… [he] wants those feelings to come back. ‘

Lisa reminded him that he ‘he was doing very well. He listened politely. He is determined to… go hiking. He knows his health has changed and he has a serious illness but he is coping in his own way. If he can ever get back into the woods remains to be seen.’

Lisa says, ‘Change can be hard. Changing our outlook can be overwhelming. What is important in one person’s life may not be important in another’s. The thoughts of hiking in familiar woods… might not be anyone else’s goal. Respecting every person’s individuality and way they cope is essential…’

She concludes, ‘Every day is a new beginning and that is all we really have. If you are struggling, get involved with a support group or call your mesothelioma team.  You are not alone.’

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash