Statistics don’t lie, but they don’t tell the whole story of mesothelioma either.
Mesothelioma is a terrifying diagnosis, and because of its rarity, new patients often have no idea who to turn to for advice and perspective. At The Mesothelioma Center, our mission is to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos and support those diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses any way we can.
This includes sharing the inspirational stories of mesothelioma survivors and their caregivers. We never cease to be amazed by the spirit and resilience of the cancer survivors we hear from.
Survivors tell us their stories in the hopes of bringing hope to others just beginning their journey with mesothelioma, and we are deeply grateful for the opportunity to take part by sharing those stories with you.
These are the survivor stories that resonated with our readers the most this year.
When Jim Huff was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, the thought of debilitating chemotherapy side effects did not appeal to him. Instead, he has been energized by his success with medical marijuana, buying him time to learn how to play the guitar.
“There are days I forget I’m even sick,” he said. “The doctors have just told me to continue doing whatever I am doing because it’s working now.”
Trina West-Clark and Raeleen Minchuk were diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma on the same day, but 13 years apart.
Minchuk arranged to commemorate her three-year survival mark by joining West-Clark as she celebrated 16 years of mesothelioma remission with a trip to Lake Louise in Alberta, Canada.
Alyssa Hankus started showing symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma at age 12 and was diagnosed at 15, making her one of the youngest to ever be diagnosed with the asbestos-related cancer.
Her high school experience was anything but normal, but she persevered and went on to earn a degree in interior architecture. Now 30, she looks forward to starting the next chapter of her life.
Chris and Judy Gibney waited years to build their dream home in the countryside, but when Chris was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, he thought he might never get the chance.
With the help of an expert medical team and his family’s support, however, he has lived to complete the construction of their dream home and see several grandchildren be born.
Are you or someone in your family a mesothelioma survivor or caregiver? Tell us how this cancer has impacted your life.
Judy Goodson met her peritoneal mesothelioma diagnosis with rare confidence, having already survived non-Hodgkin lymphoma. After two years of surgery and chemotherapy treatments, she was determined to get back to work.
“I often joke with my friends that mesothelioma whispered in my ear, ‘You can’t handle me,’” she said. “And I told mesothelioma, no, you can’t handle me.”
When Ruth Phillips was first diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 1999, she received the same grim prognosis of eight to 12 months to live from three different cancer specialists.
Determined not to give up, she and her husband made alternative medicine their shared passion and found a combination of options that has worked for her.
Yvette King found her calling as a cancer survivor, using her story to inspire others and encourage them to become their own advocates.
She endured weeks of chemotherapy so she could qualify for a major surgery to remove a lung, followed by physical therapy so she could begin a highly specialized form of radiation therapy.
Tamron Cox-Little thought her first pregnancy might be her last when doctors discovered cancer in her abdomen during a routine prenatal ultrasound.
Because the peritoneal mesothelioma was caught at such an early stage, however, she was able to make a full recovery. After going through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, she went on to amaze her doctors by having three more children.
When Cindy Christopher was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, she had her family’s longevity on her side — as well as a top cancer center with an inventive new approach to treatment.
More than a decade later, she is still working hard, riding motorcycles and pursuing her passion for roller coasters. “I chose the best possible surgeon,” she said, “and I told him definitively, I will be your best patient.”
Jerry Lampe might be the country’s longest-living mesothelioma survivor, and he continues to be as surprised as anyone he is alive and well.
He credits a controversial treatment called Immune Augmentation Therapy, which he received in the Bahamas from 1980 to 1985. Since then, he has lived an active life, grateful for every new day.