If you’ve ever been dealt a serious blow of any sort, whether that issue is connected with you personally or with a friend or member of your family, you probably recognize how difficult it is to carry on without it having some effect on your life.
Perhaps you find it difficult to work or to continue with day-to-day activities. Maybe you’ve lost your zest for life. You might even sink into a deep depression and consider harming yourself.
That’s often what it’s like for a mesothelioma patient, who – once they are educated about their disease – realizes that they are facing death much sooner than expected. This is true for the close family members of the mesothelioma victim as well. They see the proverbial writing-on-the-wall and, hence, life changes from this point on.
That’s why it’s important for terminally ill patients with asbestos-related cancer to consider some sort of counseling and, often, grief counseling is the answer.
The term “grief counseling” usually denotes counseling that will occur after a loss. While that’s true, many cancer patients have found it to be helpful while they are still alive but facing death sometime in the not-too-distant future. After all, the terminally ill patient has already begun to grieve.
He or she ponders the future and recognizes the fact that he/she will not grow old with their spouse, will miss momentous family events like weddings and births, and will not be able to complete the plans he/she had for their life. Grief counseling can assist with coming to grips with these losses.
Often, grief counseling is based on the stages of grief touted by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, who wrote the book “On Death and Dying” in 1969. She notes that individuals who are bereaved usually progress through five different stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Each individual progresses at a different pace and may stay in one stage longer than another, but psychologists have found that Kubler-Ross’s theories are pretty much on the mark.
A grief or bereavement counselor can assist the patient – and the patient’s family members – in making their way from one stage to another, eventually coming to accept the fact that death is a given because of this dreadful disease. Counselors use a variety of different techniques to help their patients.
Some use just “talk” therapy while others may employ the use of tools such as music or art therapy, meditation, or role playing. Whichever technique is used, the end goal is to take the individual by the hand and lead him/her back into as normal a life as possible.
Bereavement counselors are plentiful so it’s usually not difficult to locate one. A good place to start is to ask a member of the patient’s medical team if they can provide a recommendation for such a counselor.
In some instances, if the patient is in the hospital for an extended period, such counseling can happen in-hospital by a member of the staff. Large cancer centers, especially, often make such counseling part of the patient’s care regimen.
Paying for such counseling for the patient and/or the family can be expensive. If you are filing an asbestos-related lawsuit, money from a successful settlement can help pay for counseling. Talk to your attorney about the need for counseling while discussing the particulars of your lawsuit.