Every person is different, and every family is different. Your spouse or partner certainly needs to know how serious your asbestos disease is and what to expect. He or she should know what you know, and should be at important medical appointments with you. Other adults in your family should also probably know most or all of what is happening to you, including brothers or sisters if you have them. You have to use your best judgment in dealing with your children, if any, or your parents, depending on their age.
You can probably start the conversation with your spouse. You can discuss who needs to know what, and when. While there are reasons to protect young children from much of the details, older children – teenagers and young adults – may want to know.
Since you do know that mesothelioma is not a curable disease, even if you live a long time with it, the diagnosis means your family must be prepared for the time when you may lose your fight with the disease.
Does your spouse know all of your financial affairs? Does he or she know where important papers are, bank accounts, safe deposit boxes, or anything else in that area? You might be feeling very badly after surgery and chemotherapy, and your spouse may need to be able to handle all of your affairs. You need to make sure someone has the knowledge of what to do and the legal right to do what needs to be done. This is especially true if you are not legally married to your partner, in which case you want to have documentation that he or she is the person you want the doctors to talk to and to act on your behalf if necessary. Even if you recover well from surgery and want to deal with some of this yourself again, there will be times when you have to depend on other people. You need to save your strength to fight the cancer.
Your family also needs to know what to expect as your treatment progresses, so they can adapt to your routine.
If you register at the site below, Carepages, you can set up a system to deliver updates to your family and friends. This may be useful for family members not in your immediate family, or who live far away from you, so that they can find out how you are doing without the need for multiple phone calls. This is not intended to replace one-on-one communication, but to make some things less burdensome.