When I was diagnosed amongst mesothelioma 7 years ago, I barely knew anything most the rare cancer.
I had spent 43 years working every bit a registered nurse, but never 1 time came across a mesothelioma patient.
My awareness of the cancer was express to legal advertisements cry for if I or a loved 1 was diagnosed amongst mesothelioma. I knew the illness was caused past times asbestos together with that it to a greater extent than oftentimes than non affects blue-collar men, but that was most it.
It wasn’t until my diagnosis inwards August 2012 when I started researching mesothelioma. I rapidly began searching for what I needed to know.
How is this cancer treated? What cancer centers specialize inwards treating it? Which physician would I trust to hopefully relieve my life?
Through inquiry together with self-advocacy, I constitute my trend from my hometown of Cornish, Maine, to Brigham together with Women’s Hospital inwards Boston, domicile of the prestigious International Mesothelioma Center. I became a surgical patient of Dr. David Sugarbaker, who was affectionately known every bit “Mr. Mesothelioma” earlier his tragic croak inwards 2018.
I afterwards went through 3 rounds of chemotherapy, countless scans together with straight off immunotherapy infusions nether the guidance of Dr. David Jackman at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
As individual who spent 43 years inwards medicine together with lived 7 years amongst this cancer, I nonetheless don’t know everything at that topographic point is to know most mesothelioma. I’m nonetheless learning to this day.
September 26 marks Mesothelioma Awareness Day, something I didn’t know existed until I became an advocate for other survivors terminal year. That lone shows how much function nonetheless needs to hold upwards done.
My hope is that to a greater extent than people railroad train themselves most mesothelioma together with the dangers of asbestos exposure. More awareness tin convey to a greater extent than funding. More funding brings to a greater extent than research. More inquiry tin hopefully abide by a cure for this rare cancer.
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Mesothelioma Awareness Should Occur Every Day
Dedicated days such every bit Mesothelioma Awareness Day is a stride inwards the right direction, but nosotros demand to a greater extent than people talking most this cancer the other 364 days of the year.
Sometimes I experience discouraged because mesothelioma is exclusively diagnosed inwards most 3,000 patients each year. Since at that topographic point are together with thence few of us, nosotros are non a priority on our own.
The upside is that, inwards some cases, nosotros are existence grouped amongst lung cancer patients inwards clinical trials, which seems to hold upwards opening doors for novel treatments.
Mesothelioma is unremarkably misdiagnosed. I was fortunate that my cancer was caught fairly quickly. Others aren’t together with thence lucky.
I intend at that topographic point needs to hold upwards a world awareness message that gets people thinking most their illness together with if it is existence diagnosed correctly.
Unfortunately, I experience at that topographic point are to a greater extent than cases of mesothelioma each twelvemonth than what is existence diagnosed around the country.
Continuing to raise awareness — every unmarried twenty-four hours — is how nosotros tin fighting misdiagnosis, farther railroad train the medical community together with no longer dominion out mesothelioma every bit a possibility.
More Awareness Starts amongst Self-Advocacy
I conduct iv brothers, including 1 who was inwards the Navy together with 1 who is a longtime plumber — both high conduct a opportunity occupations for asbestos exposure.
Thankfully, they haven’t had to confront mesothelioma. Since my diagnosis, I constantly urge them to acquire regular screenings together with checkups. It’s of import to hold upwards on altitude of your ain wellness at all times.
I learned rapidly the importance of existence your ain advocate. You conduct to seat inwards the fourth dimension together with inquiry together with enquire the right questions to your medical squad inwards club to brand the best conclusion for your wellness together with lineament of life.
This is peculiarly the example for a rare cancer such every bit mesothelioma. Top specialists are few together with far between. I drive iv hours circular trip to Boston each calendar month for Keytruda infusions together with follow-up scans.
Why? I evaluated my wellness help options inwards my domicile province of Maine, together with I decided it was inwards my best involvement to seek handling out of province at 1 of the best mesothelioma centers inwards the country.
I trusted Dr. Sugarbaker, together with I trust Dr. Jackman. Having trust inwards your oncologist is invaluable inwards cancer care.
Quality of life is what’s most of import to me. I’ve been gifted 7 years I wasn’t promised, but it’s essential that those were lineament years. Dr. Jackman understands this together with plant amongst me to brand the best handling decisions for me.
It’s ultimately what I choose to do, non what I’m told to do. That’s important.
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