As people progress through their journey of Mesothelioma often they believe that they just become another patient or a number. From the beginning of their journey all they hear are numbers. There are 3000 cases of Mesothelioma diagnosed a year. Your odds of survival are x percent. There are so many numbers thrown around that no doubt people wonder how they even count as a person.
Well I disagree. As we visit Mesothelioma patients, we began to know them as individuals and develop relationships with them. These patients become part of our daily thought process. We worry for them, we worry about their mental health, their own thoughts and families. Over the last few weeks this has reminded me how much we and other medical professionals are emotionally invested.
As I sat today and spoke with a doctor how various patients, outlooks, patient families, and upcoming worries it reminded me of the continual thought process that is poured into each of these individuals. We used to hear from a physician who would say you may feel like you are sitting and waiting for something to happen, but please know that things are happening despite what you see or don’t see.
When you lay awake at night and cannot fall asleep know that someone is thinking of you as well. When one patient starts their medical journey, the emotional investment begins. The mental and physical investment begins as well, but so much is poured into each and every case.
To be honest with you we speak about patients and families as if they are our own families or loved ones. This is a long journey and we see you at the most vulnerable state and try to build upon that. I don’t know of any other disease that commands such an investment that the mesothelioma team gives to each patient. It really does not seem like it is just the nurse, but it encompasses everyone from the social worker, to the chaplain, to the oncologist, surgeon etc. to the staff who can run the hospitality house.
Mesothelioma can make you feel alone, isolated and fearful. Please know you are not just a number, you are a person who someone cares for, a medical team who is working diligently to improve your life, and above all you are a fighter. You were diagnosed with this disease, which was completely baffling to you and your loved ones but there are medical centers out there who care and want you to be better. Yes, we all know there is no cure but there are treatments, that can help provide relief from symptoms and extend your life. Know that you are not a number, you are a person who is important to many.