Facing the final weeks of mesothelioma can be a stressful and emotional experience. At this stage, your mind is exploding with questions about what to expect, how to cope with the condition, how to alleviate the symptoms, what preparations to make, and in general, what to do to improve your life quality. In this article, we’ve discussed crucial details about the final weeks of mesothelioma and everything else you need to know.
What to Expect in Final Weeks of Mesothelioma
With just a few weeks to live, your doctors will focus on palliative care treatments as they are useful for lessening suffering and helping mesothelioma patients have a better life quality. Although treatments like chemotherapy and radiation may help slow down the growth and size of the tumor, it’s often too late to kill it off at this stage due to extensive metastasis. In the Stage 4 mesothelioma, aggressive and invasive treatments like surgery are often not considered.
Symptoms of mesothelioma in the final weeks are often severe and may include difficulty breathing and shortness of breath, general feeling of unwellness or fatigue, night sweats and fever, difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), pain and tightness in the chest (especially with pleural mesothelioma), abdominal pain and discomfort (especially with peritoneal mesothelioma), accumulation of fluid in the chest or abdomen, coughing up blood (hemoptysis), and unexplained weight loss. During this period, the palliative care team including doctors, nurses, social workers, nurse practitioners, and specialists will work closely with your mesothelioma specialist to alleviate these symptoms and improve your quality of life.
The team will inform you about the available treatment options for your illness and make sure you clearly understand them. They will listen to your personal opinion regarding the treatment options.
The palliative care team will also provide support to you, your family members, and friends who might be distraught over your current situation. You can ease their tension by letting them know that you would like to discuss what’s happening and how you feel. Sharing will not only help them cope with the changes, but also increase trust and support between you and them. With this kind of support, you and your loved ones can focus on spending quality time with you, and make it much easier to plan ahead.
When to Start Palliative Care
Doctors and health specialists recommend starting palliative care as soon as you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma. At this stage, palliative care can be helpful in alleviating your pain and side effects associated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other treatments in the final weeks of mesothelioma.
Lifestyle Changes to Make in the Final Weeks of Mesothelioma
Besides getting quality palliative care in the final weeks of mesothelioma, it’s important to make lifestyle changes that will help improve your prognosis, improve your overall health, help you manage stress and emotional distress, and generally improve your life quality. Some of the most crucial life changes to adopt include;
1# Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet
Good diet is crucial to boosting your overall health, especially your immune system which at this time has been compromised. By boosting your health, you will gain enough strength to push you through the final weeks of mesothelioma.
Your diet should comprise of high-quality carbohydrates like whole wheat, brown rice, brown bread, whole cereals, high-quality proteins like meat (beef, chicken, and fish), vitamin and mineral-rich foods like leafy green vegetables, carrots, pepper, and plenty of fruits. Also, it’s important to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
2# Get Plenty of Rest
Your body needs plenty of rest during this time, especially if you are undergoing any form of treatment. Ask your caregiver to limit visit times. During this time, make sure you get enough sleep, at least 8 or more hours every day. Good sleep is important as it will provide you with strength and reduce stress.
3# Get Mild Exercises
Because of your condition, avoid doing too much exercise. Mild exercises like leisure walks can help boost your body strength and overall health as well. If you need help performing some exercise, you can ask your caregiver to support you.
4# Reduce Stress
As stressful as your situation might be, it won’t help at all if you stress yourself too much. Simply focus on spending quality time with friends and family. It will help you get over these final weeks of mesothelioma really fast.
Write your Last Will
Some of the most important tasks to accomplish during the final weeks of mesothelioma is writing a will. Writing a will will ensure that your wealth is distributed fairly among the survivors. It will also prevent any possible conflicts among the survivors.
Receiving a Stage 4 mesothelioma diagnosis can take a toll on you, especially when you don’t know what’s ahead. The final weeks of mesothelioma can especially bring a lot of emotional distress and by understanding what to expect during this period, it will be much easier to cope as you make the necessary preparations.
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