Spirituality and Mesothelioma

By Mary Hesdorffer, Nurse Practitioner
Executive Director, Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation

social_media_sphereAs you may have noticed, we recently added two groups, one group to focus on spiritual distress led by Rabbi Barbara Zacky, and a Christian prayer group led by Rev. Eric.

Why would an organization like the Meso Foundation want to add these two groups? It’s simple, really. Having dedicated my nursing career to caring for patients and family members affected by mesothelioma I became aware of this need within the community. Some have lost faith in the journey and had a desire to explore what spirituality means to them now, in their current situation and feel that perhaps the possibility exists of recapturing some of what had been lost during their personal experience with mesothelioma. Finding peace and hope and engaging in the act of living are so important, yet they are heavily impacted when mesothelioma enters into the realm.

Rabbi Barbara is working closely with Roberta Friedman, a pleural mesothelioma patient who has always impressed me with her awareness of the need to center oneself, find a quiet space and enjoy the moment. You will hear more from Roberta on the upcoming calls and I am sure you will find her engaging and bright. She will encourage you to explore new ways of thinking about and enjoying life. I enjoy my chats with Roberta and always come away with a fresh perspective and a connection with self and the universe.

Rev. Eric, himself a mesothelioma patient, knows first-hand the impact of this diagnosis on the patient, family member and those in our “inner circle”. Rev. Eric has graciously offered his services as a minister to minister to our mesothelioma community. He is available both on the Christian prayer group call and to offer his ministry to all faiths who need counsel and support. He has been of tremendous help to many touched by this disease.

Ginger Horton is a strong young woman who also carries the diagnosis of peritoneal mesothelioma.  She is a woman of deep faith and is a strong advocate for prayer. Rev. Eric and Ginger make a mighty team and feel drawn to the Foundation and the ministry of healing through prayer.

Part of the Meso Foundation’s mission statement is to end the suffering. I truly believe that these two support groups help us to fulfill our mission and I hope that we will continue to explore ways to bring comfort to this community. You do not need to be a zealot to engage in prayer, or to have a religious denomination defined to explore spirituality/ and or spiritual distress. These are options along with our support groups and online services to complement your everyday life, strengthen you during treatment, and comfort you during loss. We remain committed to funding research through our peer-reviewed research grants program, guiding you in the treatment decision making process and bringing together the mesothelioma community, including the scientists and clinicians, to advance the science and find a cure for this disease.

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