When you or your loved one received a terminal illness diagnosis from a North Carolina doctor, your life underwent significant changes, and you can expect other changes as the disease progresses. For those suffering from mesothelioma, which is often caused by exposure to asbestos, treatment becomes palliative in nature, and a family tends to focus on preserving the quality of life for the patient as much as possible.
If you are caring for someone who has mesothelioma, you may have first become aware of the illness when your loved one began to suffer from a lingering cough or had chest pain and difficulty breathing. As tumors invade more deeply into the lungs or metastasize into other areas of the body, mesothelioma cancer enters its final stage—stage four. Besides the lungs, your loved one’s chest, neck, bones, lymph nodes or bodily organs, such as the heart, may be affected by the disease.
Dysphagia often sets in as mesothelioma enters its final stage
Dysphagia is a medical term that refers to difficulty in swallowing. It is often accompanied by hemoptysis, which occurs when a patient coughs up blood. As you do your best to nurture a loved one who has mesothelioma, you might notice these symptoms more frequently as the disease reaches its final stages. Your loved one might also lose a substantial amount of weight but become extremely bloated in the chest or abdomen.
It is never easy to witness a loved one’s suffering. Many family members of terminally ill patients say they feel helpless because they want to alleviate their loved one’s pain but can’t. As your family member begins to enter his or her final time, it may be helpful for you and other close relatives to reach out for support by joining a community group that focuses on how to cope with a terminal diagnosis and how to care for a loved one who is dying.
How families cope with losing a loved one
Losing a loved one to an illness that was caused by asbestos exposure is a devastating experience. Grief is often intensified in cases where exposure occurred in the workplace and should have been preventable. Many class action lawsuits have been filed by people who have suffered tremendous damages because of mesothelioma that was contracted in environments that were supposed to be carefully monitored with employee safety in mind.