Before I plunge into telling you what this blog post is about, let me say I’m just really honoured to be writing today and being a part of a very noble cause.
Cameron Von St.James wrote to me a few days ago asking me if I would like to join him and his family in spreading awareness about “Mesothelioma” by dedicating a blog post. This is to mark the 10th Annual Mesothelioma Awareness day (which was day before yesterday, the 26th of September). I was touched by all the efforts they are putting in to reach as many people as possible, so I instantly said yes!
When I first heard the word “Mesothelioma” I was puzzled because I was totally in the dark but what really shook me was the cause for mesothelioma! So, let me shed some light.
Mesothelioma or malignant mesothelioma is a cancer that attacks the protective layer of the body cavity called mesothelium. The only identified cause for this cancer is ASBESTOS! Being an Indian, this throws me off my chair because asbestos is so common in my country. You can find it in a large number of public buildings and homes too! Most people who develop mesothelioma do so because they’ve been exposed to asbestos fibers at work. It doesn’t stop with the person. Family and friends of people working with asbestos also have a risk of mesothelioma because of second hand exposure. As mesothelioma is dormant for about 20-50 years from the initial exposure, the person will never know the amount of harm asbestos is doing to his/her body!
Although this is such a frightening piece of information, Cameron’s wife Heather gives hope because she fought the battle and is now a survivor after going through a life saving surgery. This is their lovely family ,now cancer free and with a burning desire to spread word about this preventable disease.
That is Cameron with his wife Heather and their little angel Lily.
Heather was diagnosed of mesothelioma shortly after the birth of her daughter and was given just 15 months to live. But here she is, 8 years later, as a happy survivor thanks to the support of her family, her husband and because of the right surgery at the right time.
In Heather’s words,
With hope, the odds don’t matter
Heather had to undergo extrapleural pneumonectomy in which her infected lung(left lung) was surgically removed. There are primarily two different types of surgery for mesothelioma. One is pleurectomy/decortication, in which as much tumor as possible is removed from around the lung, and the other is the more radical extrapleural pneumonectomy.
It’s important that we educate ourselves about this rare yet fast spreading disease. Statistics show that worldwide mesothelioma cases are expected to reach their peak by the year 2020. But the good news is this cancer is PREVENTABLE. As is rightly said, “Prevention is better than cure.” And for prevention, people need to know and for people to know, we need to tell!
It could all start from home. Do not go for asbestos when it comes to deciding the building materials for your house or your workplace. And when you do spot asbestos usage, do something about it. As the facts are all over the internet just waiting to be searched, you will have a lot of evidence and statistics to show and educate others.
If you know someone who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma you can share Heather’s story with them(Heather’s awareness page link). For all the caregivers out there, you don’t need a better inspiration than Cameron.(Cameron’s blog link)
So readers, if mesothelioma is a new word in your vocabulary and if you got atleast a little information from this blog post, I’m truly satisfied and happy. But do not stop. Check out the links above and read more about the disease. Know more. Share more. Do more.
Thank you Cameron for finding me through my post “What Cancer can’t do” and giving me a chance to be part of this incredible project. Bless you!