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Nurse's Corner

Posted by on Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013

Mesothelioma Nurse Finds Hope Brings Patients Comfort and Strength

“There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow.”  ~ Orison Swett Marden (American author)

Receiving a diagnosis of mesothelioma can be devastating.  But once you settle on a treatment center and find a medical team that can help you, you most likely experience a feeling of hope and joy that you will soon be on the road to recovery.

I recently saw a gentleman who lives alone and has advanced disease in his chest. He told me how desperate he felt when he was first diagnosed with mesothelioma. How each breath he took made him think how much longer he would be on this earth. Would he be able to pay his medical bills? Would he survive a surgery? Who would care for him?

This man lives very simply with little frills and from check to check. His biggest support, he tells me, is the “good Lord.” I was really blown away at how grateful and full of hope he was when I visited him. He feels like he has had a new lease on life. He lives in a rooming house and could not be more grateful to his team at the mesothelioma center and for the extra life he has been given. To visit someone like this is so inspiring to me. I really believe if you have hope anything is possible.

According to The American Heritage Dictionary, hope is the “feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best,” or the act of “looking forward to something with desire and reasonable confidence.” Hope is one of those words that can be used as both a noun and a verb. Thinking back to my younger years, I remember learning that a noun is a descriptive word. A verb, an action word. As I reflected on the word hope, a little research led me to a list of words that can be used as both nouns and verbs. For the record there are approximately 344 such words listed as both nouns and verbs.

The ones that struck me as meaningful for patients that have mesothelioma are: balance, die, plan, promise, risk, scare, support, travel, test, worry, wish. All have relevance for patients, families and friends of someone facing a mesothelioma diagnosis. Still, hope seems to be the most encompassing word for the journey.

Over the years two symbols have come to be equated with hope: the anchor and the dove. Hope is a key concept in most major religions. The concept of hope is considered an essential virtue along with faith and love.

Every day as a nurse I witness people in various stages of hope in their own unique journey with mesothelioma. Many of them have said that with hope they can better endure their treatments, and they have the courage to look ahead to what the future may hold.

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Lisa Hyde-Barrett has been a thoracic surgery nurse for nearly 25 years, and has the skill and knowledge to care for and support mesothelioma patients. Through her work, she has helped ease the stress of patients and their families by offering a comforting hand. She is passionate about helping the mesothelioma community.