Posted on January 7, 2015

We 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 Janet, as shared by her son, Marcus, who is a part of our ADAO family.

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.

“What Ate My Mum? And Will it Eat Me?” – Janet’s Storywhat ate my mum

Name: Janet

Location: Australia

Date of Birth: JUNE 1937

Date of Diagnosis: APRIL 2006

Diagnosis: Mesothelioma

How has asbestos changed your life?

I got the call, Mum had been diagnosed with cancer and she didn’t have long to live. The first stage of grief kicked in, denial; this isn’t possible. Mum was the healthiest 69 yo that had a convincing goal to live to 100. My Mum was diagnosed with Mesothelioma. It took me awhile just to pronounce it.

I went through Kubler-Ross’ five stages of grief quickly and was content with accepting my mother’s inevitable death. Strange, since my whole family were in the health care industry, except for me, a ski bum that made a television show all about skiing. I was the main carer for my Mum in the last week of her life, and she too had assumed her fate. In hindsight I’m annoyed with myself for being so accepting of Mum’s death. We were a family of believers, anything was possible, yet we sat around philosophising the celebration of life at death.

We were all there in the house when Mum drew her last breath, Dad, my 2 older sisters and me. We spent the week grieving together trying to figure out why? It was cathartic to spend the week together.

The question “why?” plagued me for years. Mum along with all of us were exposed to asbestos during the renovations of our family home. Why did Mum die and not the rest of us? If not all people die that are exposed to a carcinogen, then what is the other factor or factors that lead to their demise.

This set me on a path of making a documentary titled, “What ate my Mum? And will it eat me?” My documentary is not a witch hunt or a miracle cure, but it’s a story any person who has lost someone to cancer will relate to.

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