From the time I was little, I remember seeing the commercials on television about mesothelioma. When my father was diagnosed, that was all that I knew of this disease. I think that a lot of people probably fit into this category. But, now I know that, yes, mesothelioma is real.
Mesothelioma is a real disease. Real people are its victims, real people spend their lives tirelessly researching and treating those affected. Real people help their loved ones cope with the diagnosis and subsequent treatments, and real people fundraise and educate others about the dangers of asbestos and the desperate need for a cure.
Like most major trials in life, you never think that they can happen to you. You think that mesothelioma is some far off, distant “thing” that would not impact your life in any way. I’ll be perfectly honest, that was my way of thinking. I would see the ads on TV and feel sorry for the people who had to deal with this detriment, but not in a million years did I think that it would eventually steal my Dad, at the age of 57, from me.
When I talk about this cancer, people ask me if it’s a real thing, or if it’s a joke. Sometimes, even when I explain my story to them, they still think that it’s all some sort of money making scheme. I try my best to communicate to these individuals that it is, in fact, a reality; it is a huge part of my reality, and the reality of so many others in this community who have been rocked by mesothelioma.
Thankfully, the doctors, nurses, caregivers, researchers, and all who advocate for mesothelioma patients and their families are also real. They will never give up their fight to educate others and to eventually eradicate this disease; then, the next generation will see mesothelioma as an ancient, nonexistent disease, not something that will ever be real to them.