Posted in June 2011

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

This week, we would like to share the courageous story of Lou. She is a volunteer on the committee of ADSVIC (Asbestos Diseases Society of Victoria) (Australia) as Vice president & Awareness/Advocacy joint coordinator.

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.


Name: Louise “Lou”

Age: 56

Location: Australia

Date of 1st Symptoms: Feb-2002

Date of Diagnosis: Oct-2003

Diagnosis: Mesothelioma

Treatment: My eventual diagnosis by fine needle biopsy & surgery looking for suspected ovarian cancer with removal of  large masses of tumours from the peritoneal area then being told it was peritoneal mesothelioma.  I was given 2 to 3 mths to live or 18 mths at best if the tumours shrunk. 18 chemotherapy sessions followed with combination cisplatin and gemcidabine (gemzar) – in Nov 2009 … a new strain of mesothelioma in the pleura raised its ugly head – 3 lots of extensive surgery including bronchoscopy, Vats biopsy and pleuradesis, draining and 3 weeks in hospital then 5 mths of cisplatin and alimta followed. Tumours have shrunk and I am back living with mesothelioma with regular updates of blood tests, scans and oncology visits.

How has Asbestos changed your life? (unedited): My father worked in the building trade in the 1970s and died a terrible painful death of pleural mesothelioma in 1985 after only 6 mths.  I used to wash his work clothes, vacuum his work van … also the building I first started work in 1971 had 4 times the legal amount of asbestos in the ceilings.

Being diagnosed with this cancer through no fault of mine has cut my life short!  Every day I live for the moment as that is all we all have! Why am I still here when others have died?  I believe I have a purpose in life and that is to raise asbestos awareness and if by doing so it saves even one life from this terrible cancer then I will be pleased and will not die in vain!

Read Lou’s blog “Asbestos – Living with Mesothelioma in Australia”