Posted in June 2013 

MidgeWe have been touched by asbestos in individual ways, yet we are joined together by a bond of community. As a testament to the strength of our global family, the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) is highlighting the courageous stories of our members with the “Share Your Story” feature on our website.

This week, we would like to honor the story of Midge, as shared by her daughter Rachele.

We encourage you to submit your personal stories by clicking here and following the simple instructions on the page. In sharing, comes healing. Remember, you are not alone.

“Eighteen Months to Live” – Midge’s Story

Name: Midge

Location: Vermont, USA

Date of Birth: 11-JAN-1933

Diagnosis: Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Date of Diagnosis: 11-APR-1990

Treatment: Pain medications

Date of Death: 9-APR-1992

How has asbestos changed your life? In the spring of 1990, my mother, Midge Rylander, rushed to the hospital because of a persistent cough, chest pain, and shortness of breath. She thought she had pneumonia but her diagnosis turned out to be much worse. Malignant pleural mesothelioma.

After her diagnosis with mesothelioma, my mother started a daily journal. When I read my mother’s journal shortly after her death in 1992, I remember reading that she wrote her journal so that her experiences could help others. I remember wondering at the time how her journal was going to help others since no one was going to read it except her children. When I re-read my mother’s journal recently, I finally realized that Mom wanted her journal published so that her experiences could help other people. I then spent months transcribing my mother’s handwritten journal and letters and finally published them in my book Eighteen Months To Live, which is available as an ebook on Amazon.

Here is an excerpt from Eighteen Months To Live:

“November 7, 1990: I didn’t think about being born. Death is like birth… it happens. We think about dying. We deny it but we do think about it. None of us believes it can happen to us. But it does.

I’m torn between two very strong opposing views. I want to think about and plan for the future. But I won’t buy new clothes because I don’t believe I need them because there is to be no future for me.

Having cancer is burdensome, yet a blessing.

Death is unavoidable, with or without cancer, but I cannot proceed with plans. This is wrong.

I want to have a future and I will have a future just as before. However, I am now more cautious about all I say and do.”

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