Posted on November 29, 2016
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 John, 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.
“We Live Each Day with Passion and Fun” – John’s Story
Date of Birth: 1973
Date of Diagnosis: 2012
Treatment: Chemotherapy (Cisplatin and Alimta), EPP, Radiation
How has asbestos changed your life?
My secondary exposure occurred when I was a baby, a toddler, a child. My father worked in a factory that processed brakes and clutches for industry, and his job was as a shipping clerk. He drove the plant each day picking up the airborne asbestos along with the completed brakes and clutches, bringing that asbestos home on his clothing, in his car, in his hair.
I was close with my father. He taught me how to throw a knuckle ball, never told me I couldn’t do what I wanted, and always saw the good in others. But because of his job and the conditions at that plant, I never had a chance. Neither did he for that matter. He passed in 1994 at 52 of lung cancer. I was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma in 2012 at age 38. While I lament each day that he died when I was still young, I’m glad he never knew the asbestos he brought home with him gave me cancer. He would have never forgiven himself. That I know.
Since my diagnosis and treatment in 2012, I’ve worked to live a full, meaningful, and charitable life. My daughter is only 9. My wife and I have been together since high school. We live each day with passion and fun. We don’t just smell the roses, we actively seek to grow them. If my exposure and subsequent cancer diagnosis has taught me anything, it is that I have an advantage over others: Mortality is my constant companion; I don’t fear death, only not being able to see my child grow up. So I watch each and every stage with awe. And for the time being, I’m not dead. Each morning I open my eyes, see the ceiling, and take it in for a minute. And I’m thankful. Each time I see my child and my wife and my friends and my family, I recognize all that I do have, all that I’ve not lost, and all that I’ve been given a chance to embrace with my time left here amongst the living.
* * *