Understanding and Living with Cancer
Those in the advanced stages of cancer or who have been diagnosed with a very fatal form of it tend to experience a range of normal emotions as their life nears its end. Mesothelioma is one of these very fatal forms and being diagnosed with it often forces patients to face their fears sooner rather than later. Mesothelioma forms very slowly and is not usually found until it's in the late stages, which is why it has a very low life expectancy.
Fear and Anger Are Normal
Fear and anger are especially normal emotions for both the patient and their loved one. For patients, many people do have fear of dying. They may be afraid of dying alone, or that death will be painful, or that there will be nothing after their life on earth. Loved ones may fear not being able to deal with the loss. This is especially common with spouses and with children and parents. It's important for patients and their loved ones to pinpoint the cause of their fear in order to face it. Anger is another very common emotion. The patient may feel angry that they are about to die and that they weren't able to enjoy the rest of their life or complete things that they meant to complete. Loved ones may feel angry for similar reasons, though their anger might be directed at medical providers for not doing enough or for not catching the cancer soon enough.
Anxiety and Depression
Both of the aforementioned emotions often lead to anxiety and depression. Patients may feel depressed at their impending death and find it difficult to enjoy anything. They may feel that enjoying anything is pointless when they're going to die soon. It's important to realize that while these feelings can be considered somewhat normal, patients do not have to succumb to them. The same goes for anxiety, which can result from fear. Seeking counseling for mental health during treatment for both patients and loved ones is a very important step to improve quality of life through the end.
Look For Meaning
Part of the sadness towards the end of life is the feeling that it had no purpose. This is why it's important to delve into the meaning of the patient's life during this time. Patients may want to review what brought them joy during their life and how their life brought joy to others' lives. Loved ones can also assist with this as they remember what meaning the patient brought into their own life. Connecting with loved ones is very important at the end; both to combat loneliness and to identify meaning and purpose. Often finding peace in faith or in a religious tradition can vastly improve emotional health at the end.
Coping with a fatal diagnosis is never easy, but both patients and loved ones can find peace by employing self-care and seeking professional counseling to help them through this difficult time.