Mesothelioma help can take many forms. Some ways of helping a mesothelioma patient are obvious and important such as giving a friend or family member with mesothelioma a ride to and from a medical appointment or picking up a prescription for them. But other ways to help someone with mesothelioma are more subtle but perhaps more difficult. That includes just being there and letting them talk. But many people stay away from friends who are ill because they don’t know what to say to them.
Mesothelioma Help Suggestions From a Real Cancer Patient
Mesothelioma help can be especially difficult for relatives, friends, co-workers and acquaintances who themselves have not yet had a personal experience with terminal illness or death. They seem clueless because they may be paralyzed by the fear of doing or saying the wrong thing. They may be so caught up in their own fear or embarrassment of not knowing what to do that they inadvertently commit the greater sin of silence. You can be sure that they will look back with shame and regret if they are unable to be present for someone with mesothelioma because of their own discomfort with the seriousness of the situation.
Here at Mesothelioma Circle, we are fortunate to have received some great advice on this subject from reader Perry J. Greenbaum, who has battled cancer himself. Here are Perry’s suggestions:
- Be actively present and as involved as much as you possibly can. Actions speak louder than words
- Cancer affects not only individuals but also their families. People often feel lonely and isolatedSo call, email, keep in contact, bring food, offer to watch the kids or take them to a movie
- And listen, do not give advice. Do not worry about being a nuisance; in most cases you will be a welcome distraction, a calming voice, a friend. And your actions will always be remembered
Knowing What Not to Say to Someone With Mesothelioma
When helping someone with mesothelioma by talking with them, think about what you would want someone to say to you in that situation.
The American Cancer Society suggests saying:
- I’m not sure what to say, but I want you to know I care
- I’m sorry to hear that you are going through this
- How are you doing?
- If you would like to talk about it, I’m here
Mesothelioma Help From Greeting Cards That Tell the Truth
Mesothelioma help can appear from unexpected sources – like a daily newspaper. One example is from a recent media article about a young cancer survivor who launched a line of truthful cancer greeting cards. Creator Emily McDowell is quoted in the article as saying, “Our culture doesn’t do a good job of teaching people to be present for an illness or sickness or anything that relates to death,” McDowell says. “People are afraid.”
The cards offer statements she herself would have liked to have heard from people but didn’t. One of the most basic but important cards Emily created strikes at the very heart of the matter: “I’m really sorry I haven’t been in touch. I didn’t know what to say”.
Just reading the statements on the eight cards she’s created may be helpful for those struggling with what to say to someone with mesothelioma.
Mesothelioma Help At Its Best: 3 Tips
Mesothelioma help and caring at its best may come down to something as simple for friends to do as these 3 things:
- Making sure that the mesothelioma patient knows how much you love them
- Really listening to them without interrupting or cutting off what they have to say because it makes you uncomfortable
- Just offering a hand to hold
According to experts these are perhaps the three greatest gifts to give to someone who has a terminal illness like mesothelioma. “We should be able to talk about our fears, wishes, joys, regrets and be able to forgive before we end our time on this planet,” says a grief counselor with over 20 years of experience. “Anyone who helps us do this is a gift.” And that is surely one of the most important kinds of mesothelioma help there is.