I was recently contacted by Heather Von St. James to share her story and some information about mesothelioma to help her gain awareness for this type of cancer. Personal this disease has touched our lives, my husbands grandfather died of mesothelioma only 5 months after we had started dating and just 3 months after I meet this grandfather when he flew to the United States from England.
Here is Heather's story:
"I was given just 15 months to live. In 2005, at the age of 36, and only three months after giving birth to my beautiful daughter Lily Rose, I was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. Upon learning of this life-altering diagnosis, my husband Cameron and I embarked upon a search to find the best mesothelioma treatment care available. Our search eventually led us to Dr. David Sugarbaker, a renowned mesothelioma surgeon at the Boston based Brigham and Women's hospital.
Today, I am a nine-year mesothelioma cancer survivor and have made it my mission to help other mesothelioma victims around the globe. I share my personal story to help spread hope and awareness for others going through this, in hopes that one day no one else will have to."
For those of you who don't know, mesothelioma is a very rare form of cancer that takes the lives of about 43,000 people annually around the world. A diagnosis can come decades after the original exposure to the deadly asbestos fibers that are known to cause mesothelioma and is often a death sentence. When Heather was first diagnosed, she was given just 15 months to live. Asbestos was widely used before the dangers of it were known, but somehow still continues to be used around the world. Only 60 countries have banned the use of asbestos completely, while countries such as the United States and Canada continue to allow its' use.
The treatment of mesothelioma ranges from bad to worse. Since the symptoms take so long to show, and the disease is usually diagnosed at a late stage, treatment options are very few. For some, it can involve a surgery that results in the the loss of the lining of a lung or even the diseased lung itself. Treatment often includes a combination of radiation and chemotherapy as well.
You can learn more about mesothelioma here and here.
Also feel free to join the Heather's Tweet Chat tomorrow at 1 PM ET.