Posted on January 9, 2012
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 Jan 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.
“My Life Battling Mesothelioma” – Jan’s Story
Date of Birth: 22-JUL-1960
Date of 1st Symptoms: 20-NOV-2011
Date of Diagnosis: 26-AUG-2004
Treatment: Tumour removal followed by Radiotherapy and Chemo. Then chemo 2 yrs later, Cryoablation then surgery. Cryoablation and radiotherapy
Date of Death: January 23, 2014
How has Asbestos changed your life?: (unedited)
When I was diagnosed in 04 it was difficult to find much information on the internet apart from solicitors advertising claims, so I felt very much alone at fighting this terrible cancer.
I thought that my surgeon had done a marvellous job removing the initial tumour and that by following with chemo the meso wouldn’t return, but 2 years later I was back on the chemo and once again facing the greatest fight for my life. The chemo didn’t work for long the second time and by then more info was becoming available. I took a chance and visited the States for cryoablation on my lung in August and again in November 08, the Doctor advised that surgery would be the only thing to save my life so on my return I contacted the surgeon he recommended and having past the requirements I had my pleura, pericardium and diaphragm removed. Surgery was a big decision to make as the risks of survival were still not that high, there again being given approx 3 – 6 months I thought surgery offered better odds.
Living with a terminal cancer is swings and roundabouts, when you are in remission you are always worried it will come back, when you have it back you are always worried it won’t go back into remission. Mentally it can be very draining and treatments are very demanding on both you and your family. It isn’t easy watching someone you love suffer from the side effects of chemo or recovery from major surgery.
Overall, I have been lucky because I have managed to outlive the average time line and to have a relatively normal life, but it leaves scars not only on my life but that of my husband. Without him I doubt I would have fought so hard to stay alive and push myself through the treatments. He never wants to make the decision on what I should do but stands by whatever decision I make, he is the one that is left to worry about things as I charge ahead and do them. I would say this journey affects everyone close to you but in different ways.
I have had another 2 years in remission but the meso keeps coming back! Now I am fighting again, having just had radiotherapy on a small seeding patch I am back looking for treatment to hold back this aggressive cancer. I started a blog and website in 2008 (www.jansjourney.co.uk) to help others and I find that helps me keep battling this, as well as carrying on with my job and trying to live a normal life with my husband and dogs.