What happens next? Is there a treatment option available? Can you recover from the condition? How long left do you have to live?
One overlooked aspect at the initial onset of the diagnosis is how parents with mesothelioma will explain the situation to their children. The latency period of mesothelioma means the disease most often affects individuals who are middle-aged to elderly. At this age, it’s more likely that mesothelioma patients will have children who are in the pre-teen to early adulthood ages.
Unfortunately, a mesothelioma diagnosis means having to break the news to your children. It’s not a comfortable or easy situation to encounter. Many parents are unsure of what they should say in this situation and how they can go about explaining the situation and what comes next. Here are some helpful tips you may want to follow to get through it in the best manner possible.
It’s Time to be Open and Honest
One of the worst things you can do in this situation is to hide your condition from your children. It may feel like the right thing to do. You want to save them the heartache. However, withholding your health status from your children can cause them to lose trust in this situation. They may be more upset about you not telling them the truth.
Instead, you should speak candidly about what you’re going through and what happens next. Explain to your children that mesothelioma is a terminal condition. Explain how the disease affects your body and what you may need help with over the coming months.
You should let your children know that the condition has a latency period. The diagnosis for this disease most often comes in the later stages, meaning the prognosis is much shorter than other cancers. Here are a few things you can do to involve your children after the diagnosis:
- Take them to your appointments: Give your children a chance to hear your conversations with your doctors and ask questions of their own. The information they gather can help them understand what’s happening and allow them to make specific decisions.
- Talk to them about your wishes: Nobody wants to discuss death, but mesothelioma doesn’t go away. You should consider your final wishes—as well as draft a will—with your children’s help to ensure they meet every aspect after death.
- Don’t sugarcoat the situation: Most people with severe conditions tell their children the same thing, “I’ll be fine.” You’re not fooling them. Instead, it’s best to discuss the realities of the situation, so everyone is fully prepared.
Let Your Children Know When You Need Help
The symptoms of mesothelioma can be debilitating. You may become winded quickly and fatigued, making it challenging to complete some of the responsibilities you once held. Instead, let your children know when they can help you get things done.
Whereas you were once able to complete household chores, you may need help with laundry, dishes, and lifting items. Don’t try to push through these things for the sake of your pride. You will dwindle through your limited energy, and your children will see you suffer from it. Ask your children to participate in more of these chores to preserve yourself.
Make sure you show that you appreciate your children’s actions. Thank them for the help. Let them know how proud you are of their maturity to step up and help when needed the most.
Don’t Force Specific Responsibilities on Your Child
Yes, you can ask your children to help with certain chores. However, you don’t want to position them to where they feel forced to grow up too quickly. Let your children know that you are there, and you may need help, but you are not their sole priority.
Your children should still be able to do things that teenagers and young adults enjoy. Let your children know they are okay to do so. Your illness does not take away from their social life. They shouldn’t feel the need to put things on hold when they’re providing you care. Instead, they should find a healthy balance that allows them to live their lives, as well as help you when necessary.
Having time to be a pre-teen, teenager, or young adult is essential for your children. Make sure they know this even if you must utilize a caretaker during the times when your children are out and doing what they should be doing at their age.
Show Patience and Understanding
While you are the one with a terminal condition, and you want your children to understand your situation, it is not easy on them. They are going to have emotions with what’s happening. They may even show frustration when they’re unsure of how they can help you.
As a parent, you must recognize these emotions and understand them. Show that, even in the worst of times, you sympathize with what your children are going through as well. You may be suffering from a fatal condition, but your children are watching as they lose a parent. There’s nothing they can do to help cure you, so it becomes frustrating.
Your children may get emotional or close themselves off from the situation. Whether they react by ignoring situations or getting angry with you or other family members, you must show that you understand. They’re not truly angry at you; instead, they’re upset with the situation. They’re struggling with the inevitable, and they are still at a young enough age where this news is life-altering.
Expecting your children to be okay every minute of every day would be unreasonable. Let them share these emotions with you. Explain that you understand. Sympathize with what they’re feeling and talk it out. You’ll be surprised by how well your children respond in the moments following a deep conversation.
Moving Forward After a Diagnosis
Of course, if everyone had it their way, the only justice that would exist following a mesothelioma diagnosis is to be able to heal. However, while treatment helps to improve the quality of life of a mesothelioma patient, there is no cure.
The family must deal with the heartache and pain stemming from the terminal condition. They may also endure significant financial hardships. And while legal action is never a priority in this situation, family members must recognize their rights.
Asbestos exposure causes mesothelioma. Countless individuals in various industries have gone through this situation because of the amount of asbestos found at construction sites, navy shipyards, and other workplaces. When company owners refuse to provide workers with safety gear or disclose that asbestos is present on a worksite, they put lives at risk.
There are potential legal options available to families of mesothelioma patients when negligence is present. Proving that a company put your loved one at risk of asbestos exposure allows you to file a claim for compensation.
Our mesothelioma attorneys at Shrader & Associates is here to help. Families may not be aware of what comes next. However, victims of mesothelioma can act after diagnosis, and family members may act after death. We’ll work to help you hold the negligent party accountable, pursue justice, and seek maximum compensation. We’re here to help.
Call our firm today at (713) 787-3733 to discuss your potential case with our experienced team. The months following a mesothelioma diagnosis are difficult for you and your family. We’ll be by your side every step of the way.