Hope comes to us in all sorts of ways. According to Merriam Webster the definition of hope is “a desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that is obtainable.”
As nurses working with mesothelioma patients, our job is to visit patients after they have left the hospital, the vast majority while recovering from surgery. On this particular day I had a list of patients to visit. Most were at a hospitality house near the hospital where they receive treatment. As I was waiting to be let in, I saw an older man walking swiftly toward me and I knew he looked familiar. It was a patient from almost a year ago.
We recognized each other immediately and had a warm hello and hugged one another. As I was waiting to be let in we chatted and then the wife of my first patient of the day came to the door and let me in. This particular house has many rooms where many patients and their loved ones can stay, and my former patient was staying there as well. These two people had seen each coming and going but had not been formally introduced.
The caregiver has had a rough 24 hours with her own loved one, she was learning the ropes of administering pain medications, meal prep, and monitoring intake and output which was a full time job. As we spoke briefly about his journey she just could not get over how this man was moving, smiling, never demonstrating any shortness of breath, and how he explained he just finished shoveling and cleaning off the cars from the newest snow.
What really stunned her is that he too had a similar surgery that her husband had and is recovering from. The conversation continued and then we were just about to separate and she invited him and his wife to dinner that night. As you can imagine the caregiver could not get enough of this gentleman who was surviving mesothelioma. She was interested in how his wife was doing and just fascinated with the idea that there is hope.
Many people hear about statistics and how we are improving the treatment and life expectancy, but clearly this was the proof that she needed. Listening to professionals talk about others is not the same as seeing a real patient living well, which gives promise to others.
There are many reasons to seek out mesothelioma centers if possible. We believe that a center of excellence is your best and most aggressive option – with the newest scientific approaches, many years of experience, and a supportive atmosphere being just a few of the reasons. When you mix in hope, which can take the form of a survivor showing up on someone’s door in the middle of January, navigating this unfamiliar terrain becomes somewhat manageable.
When you reach out to Belluck & Fox about your mesothelioma diagnosis, you get more than a legal consultation, but also access to the information and community families need to help cope.