Jan was diagnosed in 2004, age 44 years, although she had symptoms of the disease going back the the late 1990s. Her response to the diagnosis was to fight back.
And what a brave fight she has put up over the years, in spite of prolonged pain and many frustrations. Major surgery to remove tumours and clear the chest wall of pleural thickening; pleurodesis; radiotherapy; chemotherapy; cryo-abalation in the States; more chemotherapy; another operation to remove the left lung lining, diaphragm and heart sac and replace with synthetic lining; more cryo-abalation; more radiotherapy, followed by yet more chemotherapy and the fitting of a permanent drain to deal with a build up of fluid in her stomach (ascites). Her last act of defiance was another blast of radiotherapy mid-January. If anyone deserves the title "Meso Warrior" it has to be Jan!
Sadly, Jan lost her last battle on Wednesday 23 January. However, she leaves behind a legacy of words in the form of her blog (which should be required reading for any nurses or doctors treating people with mesothelioma); the articles she has written for various mesothelioma websites and two fiction books (proceeds from the sale of which are donated to the Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund). Find out more by clicking here .
Jan inspired, helped and supported others in her position and their carers, and did much to raise awareness and fight for improvements in patient care, all the while she was fighting her own war on mesothelioma. She will be sorely missed by the mesothelioma community. Our thoughts are with her husband Gary and their family and friends.
We never met Jan face-to-face, although we talked often on Facebook and exchanged e-mails. We had hoped to meet up in person at the Mesothelioma Patient and Carers day in 2012, but that coincided with the start of Steve's second chemotherapy regime and we had to cancel. Sadly, we can't even come to celebrate your life in February, as that will coincide with the start of Steve's third treatment regime, assuming he is accepted on to the VanSel1 drug trial. However, we will be with you there in spirit and we send our love to all those celebrating your memory.
I'm so pleased we met in the virtual world. Thank you for your support and inspiration, Jan x