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Mesothelioma Survivor Shares His Goals, Plans, and Motivation

Kevin Hession says his mesothelioma diagnosis isn’t going to get in the way of what he plans to accomplish in the future. Despite his mesothelioma diagnosis in August 2021, he fully intends to achieve his goals.

He tells us that one of his major plans is to travel the world. Kevin says he believes it’s important for every mesothelioma survivor to continue to live life to the fullest and plan ahead for special occasions. 

“I think it’s very important to have goals,” Kevin shares with The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com. “My wife wanted to go to Rome. Well, last February we went to Rome.”

Their travels have included family, history and music. “That all happened because I’m doing things,” he notes.

Looking back at recent trips he recounts, “This year we’ve already been to Delaware where some of my relatives are from. Last year I went to Austin, Texas to see a country music concert. While I was there, we went to the presidential library of Lyndon Banes Johnson.”

Looking ahead he adds, “Now we’re getting ready to take a cruise in August to the Greek Islands. Next February we’re also planning a cruise to the Caribbean Islands.” 

Kevin’s Constant Motivation

Kevin credits his wife for his continuing travel adventures. He says she’s constantly motivating him to stay active and to keep a positive mindset. 

“My wife has been a rock of Gibraltar with me. Part of that is because my wife makes me do things,” he says. “She’s an admissions nurse for a local hospice. So she knows what I’m going through.” 

Because of her professional expertise, Kevin says she understands the medical side of coping with mesothelioma. But she is also experiencing this with him on the personal side of his pleural mesothelioma diagnosis.

“She knows the medical side of all of this, but she also experiences the spouse issues, the emotional aspects of it. She goes with me to every infusion. She takes notes,” he says. 

Kevin adds, “She wouldn’t put up with any of my nonsense saying oh woe is me. She says we’re going for a walk now and she has a good idea as to what I can really do.” 

Kevin tells us he met his wife when he was in the Marine Corps. Their 39-year anniversary is coming up.

“We’re planning to get remarried for our 40-year wedding anniversary in 2025,” he says. “Today, I think I can make it.”

Patient Advocates: An Essential Support System

Kevin shares he also depends on another important support system: Patient Advocates at The Mesothelioma Center. He says they’ve been there for him since his mesothelioma cancer diagnosis

He tells us he appreciates how they work with patients throughout their mesothelioma journey. He also credits the Patient Advocates with changing his perspective on relationships with doctors and the importance of advocating for himself. 

“Originally, I thought that asking for a second opinion is insulting to your doctor,” Kevin recalls. “You didn’t like his opinion so you’re going to go shop around for another opinion that you like better. But not every doctor does things the same way or has the same experience with mesothelioma. A second opinion can be really important.”

He says he actively participates in The Mesothelioma Center’s support group with Patient Advocate Karen Selby and mental health counselor Dana Nolan. His experience with the Patient Advocates and support group inspired him to share his own personal experiences with others on a similar journey. 

“Karen has connected me with survivors who are getting ready to have mesothelioma surgery,” he shares. “Anytime Karen, Dana or anyone else knows someone who wants to talk to someone who had it, I’m happy to do that. I’m willing to be a straight shooter about my experiences with mesothelioma.” 

Not only does he enjoy helping others, he says he gets a lot out of the conversations with other survivors. In helping answer their questions, he says sometimes they ask questions he hadn’t thought of that can help him in his own conversations with his mesothelioma doctors.

“I get so much from these calls,” Kevin says. “I also need to be reminded that I’m not the only person in the world that’s going through this.”