When mesothelioma cancer strikes, the patient is not the only one whose life is irrevocably changed. If you are a caregiver for someone with mesothelioma cancer, you know this all too well. Your daily routine gets turned on its head by trips back and forth to medical appointments. Even when you plan your schedule around an appointment, the doctor’s visit can take hours longer than you anticipated.
Your time in the waiting room can be stressful. It’s all too easy to worry about what’s happening on the other side of those swinging hospital doors or to fret over what the latest tests will show about the growth of the mesothelioma cancer tumor. The bustle of doctors and nurses back and forth, the antiseptic smell, the blaring of the waiting room television, and the loudspeaker in the hallway announcing “Code Blue,” all compound the problem. If you have received bad news in the waiting room, just setting foot in there may bring back unpleasant memories.
If you’re someone who’s used to taking charge in your life, you may feel understandably angry that mesothelioma cancer has pulled you off track.
The reality is that mesothelioma cancer is going to take its course and, to some extent, you and your loved one are along for the ride. If you are anxious and depleted, you won’t be as available to support the mesothelioma cancer patient in your life. The best thing you can do is to take good care of yourself. Caregivers often forget to this amid the urgent needs of the mesothelioma cancer patient.
Your commitment to self-care can start in that waiting room. Whether you are in the doctor’s waiting room during a routine doctor’s visit or waiting to hear the outcome of an hours-long surgery, you can take this window of time to do something different. Here are several suggestions for ways that you can use your waiting time to take a break and replenish yourself.
Block Out Mesothelioma Cancer with a Movie
Mesothelioma cancer surgeries are complex and can take several hours. You could spend that whole time biting your nails and pacing, but that won’t change the outcome of the surgery and it will deplete you.
Instead, try bringing headphones and a smartphone or tablet. Let your favorite music block out the sounds of the medical facility. Better yet, download a favorite movie or TV series and watch it while you wait. It’s okay to escape for a little while.
If you like comedy, a funny video or movie is a great choice in the waiting room. Humor does more that lift your spirits. Research has shown that humor and laughter actually stimulate your immune system and improve your health. The healthier you are, the more energy you will have to support your loved one through mesothelioma cancer.
Let the staff know that they should call you or tap you on the shoulder if you are needed so you can take your mind off the surgery and relax for a bit. When it’s time to go, you’ll be refreshed. You’ll be a better caregiver.
Bring a Good Book
A good book can be just as effective at transporting you to another world as any movie. Reading a novel can provide respite while you are waiting during a mesothelioma cancer appointment or during surgery.
Pick something fun, something that takes you far from your everyday world. You won’t hear the conversation in the corner or see the nurses rushing down the hall once you lose yourself in the Amazon rainforest or medieval Scotland.
Reading has another benefit: studies have shown that reading fiction increases empathy. So reading a novel might actually help you to be a better caregiver.
Don’t Sit Around Waiting for Mesothelioma Cancer
Leave the waiting room. Take a walk, take a nap in your car, visit the hospital garden or a nearby park. You might want to take just a short walk nearby during a doctor’s visit. If your loved one is in surgery, you have time to take yourself out of the stressful hospital environment to spend part of the time waiting in a more pleasant setting.
Movement, fresh air, and exercise are all great stress relievers. Think how much more pleasant your wait will be if you spend the time on a park bench beside a river or under a leafy tree.
Give the nurse your cell phone number and ask for a call when you are needed back in the office. Explore the neighborhood. Use the freedom of this window of time to walk away from mesothelioma cancer and do something just for you.
Move Your Body
Even if there isn’t a park nearby, exercise or movement of any kind can be a great spirit lifter. You might enjoy a walk or jog around the medical center. Find out if there is a yoga room you can use and bring your yoga mat. Any kind of movement will help you shake off the nervous energy of waiting for news from the mesothelioma cancer doctor. Your mind will be clearer when you step back into your caregiver shoes at the end of the appointment.
Clear Your Mind of Your Mesothelioma Cancer Worries Through Meditation
Ask if the facility has a meditation room. This can provide a quiet retreat where you can practice clearing your mind.
But you don’t have to go anywhere to practice meditation. There are numerous meditation apps you can download to your phone. Put on your headphones and listen to a guided meditation or a recording of relaxing nature sounds. You can create your own peaceful oasis right in the waiting room.
While many people like to meditate for an hour at a time, the practice of clearing your mind can be beneficial even during a short visit to the doctor’s office. Think of it as a small stress-reliever you can pick up at any time.
Give Yourself a Treat
What is something nice you can do for yourself while your loved one is in a mesothelioma cancer appointment or during surgery? It could be something simple, like buying yourself a latte at a nearby coffee shop or having a bite to eat at the hospital café.
You may be amazed how much your mood improves if you just give yourself a little window of pleasant time. You’ll only be a phone call and a short walk away if you are needed, but your mind can wander away from the stress of mesothelioma cancer for a few minutes.
Reach Out for Mesothelioma Cancer Caregiver Support
Ask the mesothelioma cancer facility for wellness suggestions and caregiver support. Some mesothelioma cancer centers offer support groups for caregivers. You may be able to schedule your own support around your waiting room time. At the very least, they may be able to offer you resources for relaxation and rejuvenation.
You may feel guilty relaxing while your loved one is having mesothelioma cancer surgery, but you shouldn’t. Remember that everything you do to support your own health (both mental and physical) increases your capacity to support someone else.
As a caregiver, part of your responsibility is to take care of yourself. The rest of your life is filled with extra responsibilities; why not use your time in the waiting room to take your mind off mesothelioma cancer and give yourself a boost?