Amy Fair, Registered Nurse and Patient Advocate at Simmons Hanly Conroy, helps those diagnosed with mesothelioma get the medical information and resources they need during their mesothelioma journey.
Meso is like no other. It's overwhelming. It's confusing. It makes someone angry, and the whys and the hows are overwhelming. My name is Amy Fair. I'm a registered nurse and Director of Medical Relations here at Simmons Hanly Conroy.
To help clients navigate through the mesothelioma journey, I help them with their medical questions. That involves treatment, that involves maybe questions about nutrition and general questions that they should be asking their oncologist and their surgeon.
The best advice I would give someone diagnosed with mesothelioma is to educate yourself. It's important to ask your doctor how many patients have they treated. We have developed relationships with top specialists. So it's something that we can help navigate through that world of finding the best doctor to treat their disease.
The other bit of advice I would give them is to understand that it is a holistic disease. So decisions need to be made not only by yourself, but with your family.
The standard treatment options for mesothelioma are radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, and sometimes a combination of those treatments. The health professionals that should be on your team for diagnosis, it normally does start with your primary medical doctor. That goes into a pulmonologist or a gastroenterologist, depending on what type of mesothelioma you have, and to a surgeon, and then lead into an oncology or radiology component. And also, it's very important that you have a nutritionist on this team.
After your surgeon looks at your complete health history, looks at your pathology, and looks at your CT or PET scan, they'll be able to tell you if you are a surgical candidate.
The goal of chemotherapy is to keep the cancer cells from replicating. But with that toxin, you're also damaging good cells. It's important that the oncologist is giving you good recommendation on what type of chemotherapy your body can take and the types of surveillance that's going to go along with your chemotherapy.
I give them a general questions list of things that you should be asking your oncologist, things you should be asking your surgeon. It's natural to have a lot of questions about your treatment modality that you choose. So it's important that you get your list of questions, which is something I tell folks a lot. Get a piece of paper, get a pencil, keep it on your nightstand, even if it's in the middle of the night, if you've got a question, write it down.
Every person in this firm from the mailroom to the receptionist, to the attorneys, to the paralegals, to our media folks, everybody here is invested in this disease. They're invested in helping these folks navigate through this and people ask me why I've been here 20 years. That's my answer. Because I don't want to be anywhere else, because I want to be around people that care. And I want to be around people who treat people like patients and not clients, and who want to make a difference — and I feel like I am.