Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Guest Post: Virgil Anderson of

Readers of my blog will know that cancer is one of my causes. I've lost too many good people and wish that no one would ever have to suffer that loss again. So, when Virgil Anderson approached me about hosting a guest post to boost awareness for meothelioma, I said yes. So, I'm happy to offer this space this week. 

Bringing Life Back into Balance after a Mesothelioma Diagnosis

Being diagnosed with any type of cancer can really throw your life into a tailspin, but when you receive a diagnosis for a cancer as aggressive and deadly as mesothelioma, your life may feel like it will never be back to normal. It is possible to live with this awful cancer and to find a good balance between living life and living with a terminal illness.

Mesothelioma: What a Diagnosis Means

Any diagnosis of cancer is life-changing. It means facing a lot of big decisions, coping with physical symptoms and deteriorating health, and learning to live emotionally with the burden of cancer. A diagnosis of mesothelioma, which is a cancer that attacks tissue around the lungs, is one of the most devastating. It comes with a prognosis and a life expectancy, as well as difficult choices about mesothelioma treatment and how aggressive to be in trying to find a nearly impossible cure.

Living with this diagnosis also means facing some difficult feelings. Many people with mesothelioma experience elevated stress along with feelings of depression, fear, and anxiety. It is not uncommon to show signs of clinical depression and to lose interest in engaging in normal activities or socializing.

Finding Balance with Positive Coping Mechanisms

To find balance again, between facing the reality of cancer head on and still living and enjoying as normal a life as possible, it is important for mesothelioma patients to make use of positive coping mechanisms. These are strategies that help manage negative emotions, reduce isolation, and help a person regain some control over a life that seems to be spinning out of control:

· Rely on the support of friends and family. If you are coping with a diagnosis of cancer, what you need more than ever is the support of loved ones. A positive support network is a great way to cope with your new reality. These people can be there to listen, to help you do chores, or just to be there quietly, so you are not alone.
· Support groups help too. While your loved ones care, they cannot necessarily understand what you are going through. Another important type of support is from other cancer patients. Listening to and talking to other people going through the same thing is a powerful way to learn to cope and to regain balance.
· Yoga for physical and emotional balance. Yoga has been shown in research to help cancer patients in a variety of ways. It provides both physical and emotional benefits, including less pain and fatigue and greater mobility, as well as reduced stress, depression, and anxiety.
· Journal your feelings. Writing about your experience and how it makes you feel, is a good way to cope with the negative emotions that come with a mesothelioma diagnosis. Try putting your feelings down on paper to help you better sort through your experience and how it is affecting your life.

Living with mesothelioma—being sick, feeling afraid and depressed, going through uncomfortable treatments, feeling alone—is a challenge. It is world-changing, and if you are living with this diagnosis right now, you may feel like your life is never going to be the same again. That may be true, but it doesn’t mean you can’t regain some balance with the right coping mechanisms that work for you.
Virgil Anderson was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Virgil’s exposure came from working in demolition and excavating since high school.

When he was diagnosed with mesothelioma he needed immediate medical attention. He found a few websites on the internet that are supposed to help people with mesothelioma cancer but nobody got back to him.

Then he found Even though he contacted them on a Sunday one of their patient advocates gave him a call back within minutes. They gave him a great deal of helpful information on doctors and resources available to him. 

As a result of their website, he is now being treated at the national cancer institute and the patient advocates have even provided him with financial assistance so he could afford a place to live during his chemotherapy. If he had not reached out to this website he would likely be homeless and more importantly in Hospice waiting to die. These people gave him his only chance at survival.

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