When you're dealing with advanced mesothelioma, you have just as much need for closeness and intimacy as ever. Even though it may be more difficult at this time, your well-being is critical to helping you have the best quality of life you can for as long as you live. Yet ironically it can be harder to achieve closeness and intimacy even with beloved family members because of the strong emotions people may have about the end of life.
Friends and family
Sometimes when you have cancer it can feel unfair that you seem to be the one who is expected to be strong. It may fall to you to help friends and family members cope with your illness, even though it is you who are ill. If you are able to talk openly, they will probably be relieved and able to respond. However, when you are unwell or feeling low, it is very difficult to take on that burden. In spite of how hard it feels, you will feel a sense of some control if you can manage to begin these conversations.
Often lifelong friends and close family can become strangers just at the time you most need them. It may help to remember that everyone is shocked by bad news. Your family and friends are also wrestling with strong emotions and their initial reactions do not necessarily reflect their true feelings. They may not really want to avoid closeness and intimacy with you but may do so out of fear and grief.
Spouses and partners
Spouses and partners are the most obvious sources of closeness and intimacy, so this is not a time to abandon your sex life. Your significant other may be just as grief stricken as friends and other family members, but the fact that you share so much makes it extra important that you communicate with each other about your illness. Even if you have to be the one to bring up the subject, don't hesitate to ask your partner to listen to your feelings and concerns and to share his/her own. This kind of sharing can bring a sense of peace that feels very powerful.