There are memes making their way across the internet about how some people are better equipped for “social distancing” than others.
These memes are often directed at the younger generations as a joke about social skills, but the reality is that anyone who is dealing with mesothelioma has a great deal of experience with many of the things the rest of the world is struggling with.
Let’s skip past the obvious things like hand washing and social distancing and talk about some important lessons that meso patients can teach us right now:
Lesson #1: Acceptance
All it takes is a scroll through your Facebook feed to see the high degree of disbelief and denial about what’s happening in the world with COVID-19.
Meso patients and their families often go through this when they first start to show symptoms or receive their formal diagnosis.
A major part of the healing process is finding acceptance of the current situation. Once we’re done feeling angry, afraid, uncertain or whatever you may be thinking, finding acceptance of the current situation will help get you to the next steps.
Lesson #2: Hobbies
Meso patients often find themselves with large amounts of down time during their treatment and recovery. Just step foot in any major cancer hospital and you’ll see puzzles, books and all kinds of things to keep your mind and body busy.
Meso patients often learn to cope with stress by taking up hobbies they can do with limited strength or energy just like most people right now are being forced to find ways to pass the time with limited access to their usual routines.
Lesson #3: Pace Yourself
Meso patients often learn that there’s only so much you can do before your energy runs out. In our case, we’re so used to being super-productive that it takes effort to slow down and pace ourselves.
Lesson #4: Gratitude
People with meso often learn to find blessings in the little things like having loved ones around, enjoying some beautiful weather or learning to notice that perhaps today was a little bit better than yesterday.
Lesson #5: One Day At a Time
Like COVID-19, mesothelioma is often a fast-moving disease. That makes planning beyond the immediate future difficult at best which is eerily similar to the situation at hand where the news changes on a daily basis.
During this time of crisis, our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone coping with the effects of COVID-19. We hope that these tips from the brave and inspiring people facing life-threatening diseases will help us stay positive and get through this together.