Sunday 19 September 2010


If you read the blog regularly, you will know that my day usually starts by checking the Google alerts for mesothelioma in order to keep up-to-date with news that might bring us more hope. I don't usually open articles about people dying as a result of the disease - it's too depressing.  However, today I followed up a headline "Doctor dies of mesothelioma contracted at UK hospital", fearful that it might be Dr Andrew Lawson, whom we met online back in the spring and whose articles have been so positive (check out the link top right).  

It wasn't a report about Andrew, but another doctor, Prof Kieran Sweeney from Exeter, who had died recently as a result of the disease.  The article finishes with a quote from Dr Robin Rudd, the consultant who examined Steve in relation to his damages case.  Small world!  

The report said that Prof Sweeney had been diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1979.  You don't need a degree in maths to calculate that he had survived more than 30 years post diagnosis, if that was true. I had already called out excitedly to Steve to say that I had found a really long term meso survivor, before thinking to myself - can this really be true?  

Further research online indicated that some idiot had got his or her facts wrong.  Poor Prof Sweeney had survived 14-15 months post-diagnosis, meaning that he had had less time to enjoy life than Steve has already enjoyed since he found out his fate. Our raised hopes were dashed......

However, the research that yielded this sad information also led me to a recent article about the same man by none other than Dr Andrew Lawson, written in June this year. Another rapid exchange of e-mails revealed that Andrew is still in there fighting, some three and a half years post-diagnosis and that he lives not far from us!  We are thinking of you tomorrow Andrew.  Hope all goes well with the op and that you have a speedy recovery.  Look forward to meeting you face-to-face when you are feeling up to it!

The research also led me to another site with which we now have a connection.  I have now added Jan Egerton's blog (Jan's Journey) to the list of meso warriors whose story you can follow through the link top right.  It also led me to the Bob Tolley Fund site and blog, which raises funds and awareness of mesothelioma and asbestos-related diseases, set up in memory of Bob who died as a result of mesothelioma in September 2006.  

It saddens me so much to read of other meso warriors who have recently lost their fight against this awful disease and to those they leave behind.  There have been too many on the Facebook group recently.  It tears your heart out.  But we keep fighting.

There have been other connections in recent days - most notably a wonderful reunion with Hillary, an old friend from student days, who managed to fit in a trip to Oxford (with daughter Ruth) on a visit from Australia.  It was great to see you Hil!  I'll post the photo soon. Talkng to Hil brought home to us the international nature of the problem we all face with the mesothelioma time bomb, not just in the UK but world-wide.  If you want to know what's happening in Oz, just Google on "James Hardie mesothelioma" and prepare to be shocked.

I think I need a long walk to clear my head........that's what I'll be doing tomorrow, before going back to work for the rest of the week - always assuming I can remember how to log into the work's been so long!

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