To get your life back. That's what it's like, according to one long-term mesothelioma survivor. To understand how remarkable that simple statement is, you have to understand that the phrase "long-term mesothelioma survivor" somewhat of an oxymoron.
For people who have developed mesothelioma, the median life expectancy is 12-24 months. According to one doctor, the five-year survival rate has increased to 20 percent. For one woman, the diagnosis was more traumatic than most. For one, she was 36-years-old, and she had never worked near any source of asbestos. And she had a new daughter who was just little more than 3-months-old.
She was a victim of what could be called "secondhand asbestos." She never worked with materials that contained asbestos, but her father did. He was a construction worker, who often came home covered in dust from construction and demolition sites.
And she hugged him nonetheless. But some of that dust on his work clothes contained asbestos fibers, and she unknowingly inhaled them. Decades later, the led to the development of her mesothelioma.
She underwent surgery that cost her her "left lung, the lining around her heart, half her diaphragm, her sixth rib and a few lymph nodes." The surgery was followed by weeks of chemotherapy.
While the cost was high, her payoff has been immense. She celebrates each year with a network of family and friends she has developed. She writes on mesothelioma and works with others who have developed the disease and other cancers. She provides the inspiration to many others that survival is possible.
A large part of the payoff has been seeing her daughter grow. She is now nine-years-old and a fourth-grader. And that is what makes getting your life back worthwhile.
Startibune.com, "Mesothelioma survivor throws party of hope, support," Pat Pheifer, February 9, 2015