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Mesothelioma | One Year to Live – John's Story | Jabar Post Indonesia
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops from the thin layer of tissue that covers many of the internal organs (known as the mesothelium). The most common area affected is the lining of the lungs and chest wall. Less commonly the lining of the abdomen and rarely the sac surrounding the heart, or the sac surrounding the testis may be affected. Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma may include shortness of breath due to fluid around the lung, a swollen abdomen, chest wall pain, cough, feeling tired, and weight loss. These symptoms typically come on slowly.
More than 80% of mesothelioma cases are caused by exposure to asbestos. The greater the exposure the greater the risk. As of 2013, about 125 million people worldwide have been exposed to asbestos at work. High rates of disease occur in people who mine asbestos, produce products from asbestos, work with asbestos products, live with asbestos workers, or work in buildings containing asbestos. Asbestos exposure and the onset of cancer are generally separated by about 40 years. Washing the clothing of someone who worked with asbestos also increases the risk. Other risk factors include genetics and infection with the simian virus 40. The diagnosis may be suspected based on chest X-ray and CT scan findings, and is confirmed by either examining fluid produced by the cancer or by a tissue biopsy of the cancer.
Prevention centers around reducing exposure to asbestos. Treatment often includes surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. A procedure known as pleurodesis, which involves using substances such as talc to scar together the pleura, may be used to prevent more fluid from building up around the lungs. Chemotherapy often includes the medications cisplatin and pemetrexed. The percentage of people that survive five years following diagnosis is on average 8% in the United States.
Grandfather and former teacher, John Slade, was told he had one year to live when he went for a check-up with his GP.
Here John shares his experience of living with mesothelioma to give hope to others.
For confidential legal advice with a specialist asbestos solicitor, call Slater and Gordon Lawyers today on 0808 175 7783, or contact us online at https://www.slatergordon.co.uk/contact-us/
From the early 1990s I’ve known there is something wrong with me. Very slight to begin with and it was headaches and tiredness and I’d been to the GPs, I’ve had private appointments, I’ve even had a brain scan and I was finding myself in more and more discomfort. In the end my wife persuaded me again to go and see the doctor, and she listened to my chest and said, “Do not go home. Go straight to the hospital. There’s something seriously wrong here.” The consultant turned up and she told me quite blankly that I had less than a year to live. So I was in considerable shock then. It seemed rather sudden. And they diagnosed mesothelioma.
I was a history teacher at Richard Taunton College for a very short time. I got myself trained in pottery. I loved it. I joined the college in 1974 and I was teaching pottery there by the late 70s and we moved to the hut where I think there was a lot of asbestos. The insulation, the inner cladding on the walls was coming away and there was a real rot of nasty, dusty stuff. Particularly unloading the kilns we’d used very worn asbestos gloves to do this.
It’s very very difficult for my wife I believe. Imagine having to look at someone who you do have great affection for and you see them without any reason, without anything they’ve done being the cause, see them actually fading away.
In all fairness I think my wife ought to have some sort of compensation for not having me around. I think it’s quite wrong that by the 1980s when the dangers of asbestos were really well known, authorities were still permitting staff, for whom they were responsible, to work in what were basically unsafe conditions. So I brought the legal action, really, so that something can be done about the general situation. It is in order that those people who are in the same situation as me should not suffer so much.
And since then I’ve been making things out of wood.
I can’t imagine a week going by when I don’t make something. Because you’ve got the pre-existence of the wood. You’ve got all sorts of things: life in the wood, which you can bring out as you’re carving it.
And above all I make elephants.
My granddaughter asked for an elephant, so I made one and I enjoyed making it so much I thought I would become expert at making elephants.
Do everything that you can do to just accept that sometimes you might have to do a little bit less of it and you might have to do it a bit more slowly but just keep on doing it.
And take all of the enjoyment out of things that you possibly can.
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