Families & Asbestos Related Illnesses
Few events carry the emotional and financial toll equivalent to that of mesothelioma–a devastating form of cancer usually caused by asbestos exposure. While there is no definitive cure for this condition, many people have lived to tell their tale of defeating mesothelioma, but explaining this condition to your children or your spouse can be the most challenging aspect of the entire ordeal. However, you must not allow the fear of reaction to dictate whether you tell your loved ones or not. To help make the process smoother, follow these five tips for explaining your condition.
Keep It Together
Without doubt, you will break down during the conversation. However, you must ensure you do not begin the conversation visibly upset. Your children will perceive this as the worst possible case, and you do not want to frighten them. If you feel you will be unable to do this, ask your partner or spouse to begin the conversation.
Your children will ask questions about your diagnosis. It’s important that you give them accurate answers, especially in the age of the internet. You do not want your children to feel as though you are hiding things from them, and staying accurate is the only way to accomplish this.
Respond Appropriately for Their Age
Depending on the age of your children, tailor the discussion to where they will understand what is going on. For very young children under the age of seven, explain that you are very sick and you may have difficulty keeping up with things as you did before. The key to this tip lies in explaining how their lives will be different during your treatment progress.
Always Give Hope
Never tell your family members that you are going to die. Each person is different, and many people have survived mesothelioma. Instead, explain to your loved ones that treatment options have advanced significantly to improve your survival chances. For very young children, you may want to simply say, “I’m going to do my best to get better.” Hope is one of the most powerful tools a family can have during this crisis.
Identify Others in Support System
Children lack the experiences and knowledge that many of us take for granted, and you must explain to your children that they can talk to your spouse, family members, school counselors, or anyone else they feel comfortable with about your condition. Reiterate that even in the worst possible scenario, your children’s lives will be filled with hope, love, and someone to care for them.
No one wants to face the challenge of explaining mesothelioma to their children, nor do they want to have the discussion with their spouse or partner. However, the discussion is very real and necessary when you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. Out of all the above tips, always remember that the one thing that cannot be taken from you or your loved ones is hope.