Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The New Face of Mesothelioma Patients


Today, I'm introducing a guest post from Heather. Being introduced to Heather's blog humbled me. In a world where so much can be taken foregranted, where so many small things become cause for a crisis... well, this is Heather's story:

When I was told that I had cancer, my world seemed to stop.  Those are three unbelieving words that a person never expects to hear.  The mesothelioma diagnosis came at a time when my husband and I were enjoying our brand new baby.  Just a few short months after the birth of our daughter, I received the news that I had cancer.  Pleural mesothelioma is a form of cancer that is primarily caused by exposure to asbestos.  I soon found out that I had been exposed to asbestos second-hand – through my father’s work clothes when he had worked around it.  When my father came home from work, he unknowingly brought home with him millions of harmful asbestos particles that lingered in the air around our home, on our furniture and in our vehicle.

I was 36 when I was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer.  As a young mother, I was not the normal type of person who is typically diagnosed with this particular form of cancer.  Because mesothelioma is generally caused by asbestos exposure, middle-aged men who have worked in factories and in construction sites where asbestos is present are the most prone to getting mesothelioma.  However, women who worked in old schools that had asbestos also became another category of people who began receiving diagnoses like mine.  And then, there were the wives and family members of the men who worked around asbestos and unknowingly brought it home with them on their clothing and work gear.

I was at the beginning of a trend of a new category of people who were being diagnosed with mesothelioma.  More and more people, like me, began feeling ill and when they went to the hospital and tests were run on them, it was found out that second-hand exposure to asbestos was the cause for their illness.  This is an alarming new category of people, as the once typical mesothelioma patient was an older male who worked in the trades. All those little kids a few decades ago, who ran into their daddy’s arms when they came home from construction sites, are now realizing they are at risk for getting ill from second-hand exposure to asbestos.

Yes, it is really scary to have cancer.  I only hope that sharing my story will help to shed some light on the new face of mesothelioma patients.  There is always hope for people like me, people who suddenly and unexpectedly discovered in their prime of their life, they have mesothelioma.  

One of the greatest things we can do is to share our stories and provide awareness and support for one another, and for the public.  The more awareness I can spread, the more confident I feel knowing that I may be helping someone else who is in a similar situation.


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