Posted on September 9, 2014

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 Michael, 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.

“What You Don’t Know Can Kill You” – Michael’s Story

Michael, MAName: Michael

Location: Massachusetts

Date of Birth: 08-AUG-1953

Date of Diagnosis: 02-NOV-2012

Diagnosis: Mesothelioma

How has asbestos changed your life?

What you don’t know can kill you. I had been admitted into Jordan Hospital in Plymouth Ma. For what I believed to be a routine inguinal hernia operation. I had one about eight years prior ,on my left side and figured I knew the routine. So we scheduled it for 11/02/12 and all went well. I scheduled a follow up in two weeks, November 15 /2012 . No problem. If you have had an inguinal hernia operation before then you know how the recovery is. No lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk for about two weeks, no work for the same amount of time. Let’s say it’s a bit of a recovery. Usually ten weeks before you can start feeling strong again. So along comes Nov. 15th. I go to see the surgeon that performed the surgery. “So doc.when can I return to work,how dose everything look?” I remember him telling me to take a seat. “All went well with the hernia surgery. But I have some bad news to tell you. During the operation I noticed some noguals on the lining of the abdomen,we took a piece of the lining and sent it to pathology. It came back positive, it is Mesothelioma .There is nothing we can do here for that type of cancer.” “Wait did you say cancer?” Yes his head hanging his head ever so low. “We have sent it on to Boston, to Brigham and Woman’s hospital. For another look, it will not be confirmed for another few days.” “Ok doc so when can I return to work? When can I start working out again?” The words had just gone right through me. I didn’t even know what I had just heard. “Let’s see,” he says, “why don’t you just start doing anything you want. Wait next Thursday is thanksgiving, wait until after that then you can start doing whatever.” “Im sorry,” he says as I leave his office. “OK doc. I’ll wait to hear from Brigham and woman’s hospital. Thank you.” Wow on my way home my mind started to comprehend what I had just heard. When I arrived home, I told my wife of thirty five years they had found some kind of cancer in me during the operation. “What are you saying,” she says. “They found some noguals on the lining of my stomach and it’s cancer. I think it’s called Mesothelioma.” I could not even pronounce the word. “On my god don’t tell me you have cancer.” We do a little research on the web and low and behold the name Dr. David Sugarbacker of Brigham and Woman’s hospital pops up. Wow that’s where they sent the biopsy. Oh my god what we were reading was frightening. “Let’s not jump to conculitions. Let’s wait to see what they say in Boston.” I returned to work on November the 19th. No word,on the November the 20th at 4:55 my cell phone rings. “Hello is this Michael Dennen?” “Yes it is can I help you?” “Yes this so and so from Brigham and Woman’s hospital in Boston. I’m sorry to have to be the one to tell you this, but the biopsy has tested positive for mesothelioma peritoneal. Dr.Sugarber would like to see you at the hospital next Monday.” “Ok thank you.” I’m in shock, my worst nightmare, has been confirmed.The long and short of it is that I’m here after 20 Mts. My cancer was discovered by the grace of God.

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