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Faces of Mesothelioma Articles: Page 1 of 23

Asbestos Found in Children's Makeup

After Losing Father to Mesothelioma, Mother Finds It “Unspeakable” That Asbestos Is Found In Children’s Makeup

As a mother, I worry. I worry about my daughter’s first day of school; will she be nervous? I wonder what the world will be like for her as she grows and moves into adulthood. I wonder what she will decide to be when she grows up, who will she grow up to be? Something that I never considered worrying about until my father got sick was the danger of asbestos.

Sure, we know that asbestos is found in building products and things of that nature, but it being used in children’s crayons and makeup? It is completely unspeakable and inexcusable. Why would a company knowingly place our youth in danger, all for the sake of making a dollar?

Yes, I know that the products have been removed from the shelves, but who is to say that there aren’t more items like these still out there, let alone the damage that may have already been done? Thinking about what these children may end up going through because they colored a picture or played dress up makes me angry and sick to my stomach.

It’s time that we all stand up to the companies endangering society at large, especially those targeting our children. It is not okay to ignore the deadly implications of asbestos, enabling more and more of us to be put, unknowingly, at risk.

Take the time to look at ingredients of items you may use every day. If it’s questionable, put it back, call the company and demand answers. You owe it to yourself and to future generations to stop this cycle and help to eradicate the use of asbestos, and, in turn, mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma Nurse Thanks U.S. Veterans For Their Service

Mesothelioma Nurse Thanks U.S. Veterans For Their Service

Veterans Day, November 11, 2017, is now in the books. This was the 64th time we have taken the day to honor U.S. Veterans who served  our country. Some honored our veterans with memorial services and parades. Businesses and restaurants offered free meals, movies, or other services to show thanks. Countless Americans took the time to say thank you to the people they know for their service.

What many people don’t know is that of the 3,000 Americans who are diagnosed each year with mesothelioma, an asbestos-caused cancer, approximately 33% of them are veterans. Many were exposed to asbestos while serving our country. It can take decades after exposure to asbestos for mesothelioma to develop.

As a country, we owe a debt of gratitude to these fellow citizens who answered the call. We need to reach out to these men and women and listen to their stories. For some, the experience of war and the trauma they experienced was compounded by illnesses developed years later.

How can we help? Listen. The art of listening can be challenging for a lot of people. Active listening involves listening and responding in a way that improves understanding. Day to day we are all busy and we only half listen, distracted, while waiting for our turn to talk. A true listener takes the time to listen and then repeats what he thinks the other person said in their own words. The speaker then is able to understand that they have been heard.

In addition to “thank-you for your service,” maybe this year we could follow up with, “how about a cup of coffee, would like to hear about your service experience, if you would like to talk about it.”

Thank-you to all who have served, and the families that have supported them and sacrificed for all of us.

Frozen Time Without Mesothelioma

I Wish I Could Have Frozen Time Without Mesothelioma

I can’t believe that the lives of my family have been affected by mesothelioma for over five years. It’s impossible for me to believe that Dad has been gone for four of them. Where has the time gone?

Over these past 5 ½ years, my family has undergone many changes. Life continues on even though it feels as though time is stagnant. I remember in the days immediately following my father’s diagnosis walking through the halls of the hospital. I watched people smile, wondering how they could be happy in the same time that my life was falling apart. Patients were being discharged onto a full recovery; as happy as I was for them, I couldn’t help but wonder what shape my Dad’s life was going to take.

Knowing what I do now, I would have liked to fast forward time to three months later and freeze it with Dad at that point. He had a clean bill of health; no evidence of disease on his scans, and getting stronger every day after the ravaging effects of chemotherapy. He was happy, and hopeful that life would go on as if meso had never entered his life. If I could have kept him that way forever, I would have. But we all know that’s not possible.

Smitley Jennifer Hope Lodge
Don Smitley and Jennifer Gelsick

Looking at things from a rational point of view, we have to find a way to understand that, although time marches on, our memories, these moments frozen in time, can stay with us forever. We can choose to focus on the best of times instead of our hardest struggles. Keep those memories close to your heart; it is how I am choosing to remember my father, just the way he would have wanted.

Moonshot Initiative Beneficial to Mesothelioma Patients

In January 2016, President Obama announced the Moonshot Initiative to speed the development of cancer drugs and treatments to make cancer a chronic disease. He placed Vice-President Joe Biden, whose son died of brain cancer in 2015, in charge of the program.

As part of how to turn the initiative into reality, Vice-President Biden gave a speech on September 16th at Rice University in Houston.  One of the highlights of his speech was to make clinical trials information more available.

Clinical trials are listed on www.clinicaltrials.gov. Changes to make the information on the web site more user friendly have been proposed and are being initiated. Another proposed change is to require investigators to publish summaries about their trials, whether they proved successful or not. This should go a long way towards helping mesothelioma patients who are often told to consider enrolling in clinical trials. However, the process can be overwhelming at a time that is already overwhelming.

The Moonshot Initiative not only calls for additional funds for cancer research, it includes initiatives for providing greater openness and collaboration among scientists. The speech was given at Rice University in Houston in collaboration with M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, one of the world’s leaders in cancer research.

The Moonshot Initiative is coming at an exciting time in cancer research. We pray that it will be as successful as the original moonshot over 50 years ago.  As the Moonshot Initiative unfolds we will continue to update you.

Mesothelioma Patients are encouraged to Seek Care for PTSD

Many people who have been diagnosed with a serious illness, including mesothelioma, will experience PTSD. Post traumatic stress disorder is triggered by a traumatic event. It can be described as a kind of anxiety. The person or patient who experiences this can experience a feeling of helplessness, fear or shock. Many who have experienced a traumatic event will heal with time and through healthy coping methods.

According to the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, 40% of sufferers develop PTSD after a loved one dies suddenly. The most common symptoms of PTSD are nightmares, frightening thoughts, sweating, shaking , refusal to discuss the event, reduced interest in life and feeling numb emotionally and mentally.

A life threatening illness like mesothelioma can cause PTSD. Many medical professionals  are becoming aware of this phenomenon and are setting up support groups for patients and caregivers. The symptoms usually develop within three months of the event. It can occur several months later or even years later.

If you are experiencing PTSD symptoms that last more than one month, you should seek medical attention. Patients need to seek PTSD care because their stress and anxiety could inhibit them from getting proper mesothelioma treatment or follow up care. The more intensive the treatment plan for mesothelioma, the higher the risk patients have of developing PTSD.

One of the top mesothelioma centers in the U.S. is in the process of setting up a support group and a clinic specifically for patients who need support for this type of PTSD. Often treatment includes psychotherapy. There are counselors who specialize in helping patients and their caregivers dealing with cancer.

Counselors cannot always solve the issues, but they can provide a safe place for people to discuss their issues. Depression, relationship issues, financial and emotional concern, and managing cancer symptoms and side effects, such as pain and fatigue, are some of the real concerns that can be discussed.

The key is to get treatment for your mesothelioma, but to also take care of your whole self. Living with cancer is a big challenge, and often a few conversations with a counselor can be helpful.

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It contains a wealth of information and resources to help you better understand the condition, choose (and afford) appropriate treatment, and exercise your legal right to compensation.

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