Recently, I was approached by a fellow new mama about becoming part of the campaign for raising awareness of mesothelioma, a rare cancer. I was sort of taken aback by her asking for help, since what does a new mom have to do with meso, anyway? But, Heather's story was eye-opening for me. At 36 years old, just three months after having her daughter, Heather was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma; she was given 15 months to live. My heart broke upon hearing that. I can't imagine looking at my 3 month old and thinking I wouldn't be there to see them grow up! However, Heather battled the disease, losing a lung in the process, and is doing fantastic now!
Like the rockstar she is, Heather is now devoting her life to teaching people about mesothelioma. This summer, she asked a bunch of bloggers to "take a moment for meso" and educate all of their readers about the cancer. I was more than happy to help, as we're big fans here of telling stories about strong cancer survivors!
Do you know what mesothelioma is? I didn't know much, to be honest. I did know that it was related to asbestos exposure, and that's indeed true...but, what I didn't really realize is that asbestos is still not banned in the United States, and it is possible to experience second-hand asbestos exposure by touching clothing or items that have asbestos fibers on them....also, no amount of asbestos is safe, and sometimes the symptoms don't show up for thirty to sixty years! Yikes. Scarily enough, about 3000 people every year are diagnosed with mesothelioma, but it's pretty hard to diagnose sometimes because it closely resembles other respiratory problems. What's even more frightening to think about, is that exposure to asbestos can happen...anywhere. Schools, buildings, offices. It can flake off, and become airborne, and then anyone can breathe it in.
Heather, and the Meso community, wanted to get these facts out there so that if someone you love is showing respiratory distress, perhaps ask the doctor about meso! I didn't know much about this cancer, so I hope by sharing some information, we can help spread the knowledge and help others.