Posted on February 8, 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 Tasha, 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 Body Is In Conflict with My Spirit” – Tasha’s Story

Name: Tasha

Location: Tennessee

Date of Birth: MAY-1970

Date of Diagnosis:  JAN-2008

Diagnosis: Mesothelioma

Treatment: 9 cancer related surgeries and 5 rounds of Cisplatin and Alimta to treat Peritoneal Mesothelioma

How has asbestos changed your life? Shared by herself (unedited)

Asbestos has stolen my quality of life from me. It feels like without your health, nothing else matters much. Because of asbestos, my children and I suffer from PTSD due to the fact that it almost killed me. I was diagnosed with Peritoneal Mesothelioma in 2008 after 5 years of going from doctor to doctor and being told I was healthy. My cancer never showed up in any scan or blood test. I had heavy chemo treatments and a total of nine surgeries. The road has been long and hard, but I am in remission though the chemotherapy has done great damage to my body.

Nine years later, I wake up each morning feeling like I have a horrible hangover. As soon as my eyes open, regret doing so, bracing myself to push my broken body to make it through the day. I am wet from sweating all night and begin shivering from the cold my body feels. My head pounds and my mouth is dry. My temples throb and my neck and jaw feel like they have been beaten by a hammer. I feel nauseous and begin wondering whether or not I’m going to vomit. I feel too bad to get up to go to the bathroom and fear I will need to get sick on the blankets. My abdomen is distended and bloated until it feels like it may pop. I know I need to go to the bathroom but also know that my twisted intestines won’t allow that to happen. My skin feels sunburned and hurts against the blankets. My joints ache and throb. My muscles are screaming for help all over my body, and my body hurts right down to my bones.

I begin to worry as I always do. How much longer can this go on? It’s been nine years of this, day in and day out. My digestive system is all but shut down and functions properly maybe once a week. Since my diagnosis, I have spent most of my life in bed, and on better days I am able to be up and about, smiling and laughing, but all the while, I am hiding a tremendous amount of pain. My chemo-damaged bladder suffers recurring infections, and I feel terrible pain in my pelvic area most of the time. I am so weak from not being out of bed that I wobble and shake when I walk. I feel ninety years old (I am forty-five) as I go up and down stairs as my joints creak and ache. It is rare that I can make plans because I usually have to cancel. But, still, there are those weird weeks in between when I may even get three “good” days in a row and can get out of the house. I cherish those times. I can’t get the house clean or put dinner on the table, and going to the grocery store is a challenge.

Despite all of this, the one thing asbestos couldn’t take from me is my spirit to live and fight this terrible illness. My connection to the Lord, my husband, and my three daughters is what gets me through the day and makes it bearable to go on and face another day. My body is in conflict with my spirit, and I push each day to align them. My amazing friends are having a fund raiser for me in order for me to get cell regeneration treatment.

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