What a difference it makes – a year on, our Support Network Coordinator provides insight
There is no way to positively spin a terminal cancer diagnosis, especially when people haven’t heard of it and struggle to pronounce it.
Providing accurate, up-to-date information, in the context of an individual diagnosis can help people understand the reality of their mesothelioma diagnosis and avoid the often contradictory, inaccurate, and disheartening information pitfalls of the internet.
Mesothelioma rates in Western Australia are among the highest in the world. Affecting both men and women with ages ranging from 25 to 90+ years old, no one is immune from the effects of asbestos.
I walk alongside, offering support and guidance to alleviate anxiety, and the isolation felt when coming to terms with the loss of health, independence, income, intimacy, and future. It is still hard sometimes and that is okay. Being authentic is important, it gives people permission to be real and messy in tough times.
Working with the mesothelioma community honours my husband and keeps him a part of our everyday life. My role with Reflections enables me to use my nursing skills and lived-experience in a way that aligns with my values. Be kind, make a difference, do good things, laugh often and eat cake! It is a view shared by the whole team.
Our not-for-profit structure allows us to prioritise taking the time to understand individual needs and challenges. We work closely with families, health providers and agencies across Australia and the world to ensure safe, easy, and affective relationships. Our facilitated, fortnightly support groups provide opportunities to share experiences, reassurance, and community. This is especially important as colleagues, family and friends, although well intended, can understandably stumble with what to say or do.
If you, or someone you know, are impacted by an asbestos disease and would like to know more or find community with people who truly understand, do not hesitate to get in touch.
Lizz Clarke – Reflections Support Network Co-ordinator