Mesothelioma is an aggressive, malignant cancer which occurs when a person inhales asbestos fibers, usually found in the workplace. The asbestos fibers become lodged in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart, causing about 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma each year across the United States. The inhaled asbestos fibers essentially alter a person’s DNA (genes, which are made from DNA, change because of the asbestos fibers, causing the cells to divide out of control, leading to mesothelioma).
When a friend or loved one is diagnosed with mesothelioma it is common to feel helpless and to be unsure of the best way to offer support. There are a variety of things which can truly help.
Here are the 10 Best Ways to Give Support to a Mesothelioma Patient:
1. Take on the job of grocery shopping.
On average, we go to the grocery store twice a week, sometimes more often. Offer to do the weekly shopping with a list or call anytime you are at the grocery store to see if there is anything needed by the mesothelioma patient.
2. Offer to be the point of contact.
It can be overwhelming and exhausting for a person with mesothelioma to keep all their friends, family and co-workers updated on their health, yet all these people truly want to know how the mesothelioma patient is doing. Get a list from the patient of names and numbers or email addresses, regularly sending out news and updates.
3. Offer to drive the patient to doctor’s appointments or on other errands.
Often it can be difficult for the person with mesothelioma to take care of normal errands, to get to doctor’s appointments or to visit friends and family members. Most people do not like asking another person to drive them here and there, particularly when it is not an “essential” trip. Offer to take your friend or loved one on the essential trips and on some non-essential trips as well (to the park to enjoy a nice day or to see a family member).
4. Offer to do some household chores for the patient.
This can include washing dishes, straightening up, vacuuming, taking a pet out for a walk, or folding the laundry. Household tasks that once were routine can sometimes seem overwhelming to a person diagnosed with mesothelioma, both from a physical and mental standpoint.
5. Offer to run errands for the patient.
Picking up prescription medications, taking packages to the post office, picking up mail or any other errands that the patient simply may not feel up to doing can be immensely helpful.
6. Drop off a thoughtful gift.
Mesothelioma patients who are unable to get out much will especially appreciate a book, magazine, word puzzle book, plant or light-hearted movie. If the patient does not have a Netflix account and enjoys watching movies, this could be an especially-appreciated gift. Other thoughtful gifts could include a weekly house cleaning service, a yard service, a pet-walking service or a meal-delivery service.
6. Provide companionship for the patient.
Take the time to watch a movie with your friend or loved one, play a few rounds of cards or a board game with them, or take a short walk together if the patient is able. You might also cook a meal for the person, which allows you to talk and spend time together, plus the patient gets a home-cooked meal.
7. Provide emotional support to the patient.
Often, mesothelioma patients just want to talk about their concerns and their fears. Be patient and understanding and allow for the person’s sadness.
8. Schedule a night of takeout food and movies.
Spend an entire evening with your friend or loved one, being sensitive to the fact that he or she may tire more quickly than before.
*If the person has children, offer to take them for a day or an evening or to take them to regular activities or school functions.
Have You Been Diagnosed with Mesothelioma? We Can Help!
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it can be extremely beneficial to speak to a Louisiana mesothelioma attorney as quickly as possible. The statutes of limitations in the state of Louisiana are quite short for mesothelioma patients, so do not delay.
Landry & Swarr, a New Orleans mesothelioma law firm, has conducted extensive research on the impact of occupational and secondary exposure to asbestos. If you or a family member feel that you may have contracted mesothelioma due to contact with asbestos, call 504-299-1214 and speak to one of our attorneys about your legal options.