Tragically, Jo lost her courageous mesothelioma battle in November 2012. 

Posted in May 2012

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 “Share Your Story” feature on our website.

This week, we would like to share the story of Jo, 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.

Jo’s Story

Name: Jo

State: New York

Date of 1st Symptoms: SEPT-2010

Date of Diagnosis: 8-FEB-2011

Diagnosis: Stage 4 Pleural Mesothelioma

1948 – 2012

Treatment: 6 rounds of chemo, Pemetrexed, Carboplatin currently March – June 2011. Phase 1 Drug Study 4 infusions done at Sloan Ketterings DTC center, Currently on Vinorelbine (chemo) have undergone 2 infusions so far.

How has Asbestos changed your life? (unedited):

I have lived on this planet for 63 years. I’ve faced a number of serious health issues in my life. The battle I am facing now is epic.  Why? I can’t answer that. I don’t know how I was exposed to asbestos. I have no idea. I was married for 30 years, raised two monumentally wonderful children whom I am ever so proud of and grateful for.  I was an active person; volunteering, traveling with my family, I had a career, I was an outdoorsy and active person; skiing, kayaking, bike riding, hiking, camping, traveling.  Today it is difficult to walk to my mailbox. Right now my daughter, at the age of 28, lives with me as my caregiver.  She is a godsend but I have so much guilt for it. She should be living her own life not acting as care giver for her mother. In the fall of 2010 I was on a 25-mile bike trip with my girlfriends, kayaking in Cape Cod Bay and skiing on the first winter snows. Recently I went grocery shopping with my daughter and the activity level of that caused me vomit when I got home.

I am retired now and I thought that might be lovely because I have a bucket list. There are so many places I’ve never seen and and always wanted to go to: Patagonia, New Zealand, Alaska, Bhutan, St. Petersburg, Crete… A few weeks ago I had to travel to Minnesota so my sister and I clear out my mother’s apartment and I was barely able to make it through the 5 days we were there and my sister did 85% of what needed to be done.  Did anyone ever think it could come to this? I am full of impotent rage with our government, big business, Canada, and the willful greed and the indifference to human life. I AM worth more then a dime or the thousands that end up lining the pockets of those unconscionable people who live and breathe money. Life is worth more then that.  Today my chances at life are waning. My only consolation in all of this is that I know I have time to tell my children all they have ever meant to me and all they ever will. Life is precious and I didn’t deserve this, neither did any of the other thousands who have become “warriors” in this fight. I am ever so grateful for those who tirelessly carry the torch for all of us in the fight to end this blight.