Monday 27 February 2012

A getting much better sort of week

Last week started on a bit of a down note, dominated by death and funerals and compounded by a phone call from the doctor who seemed to be reluctant to sign a form which would help Steve to renew his Disabled Living Allowance (DLA), should he feel the need to do so before it expires later this year.

But things got better as the week progressed.  Wednesday was cheered up by an e-mail from Giuseppe, our friend in Rome, who sent us a lovely photograph of us just after we had thrown our coins in the Trevi fountain.  

Together at the Trevi fountain, Rome, 12 February 2012

As we are usually behind the camera, we have very few images of both of us together, so this one will be treasured. Thank you Giuseppe!

After years of putting up with a lower back problem, encouraged by Steve, I finally plucked up the courage to see an osteopath on Thursday.  Not only did he identify the source of the problem - given a bit of time, he can also manipulate my rotated hip back into alignment and that process has now started.  We also managed to fit in a useful meeting with an accountant, which will help us decide how best to deal with my new role in Guernsey which starts officially on 1 March.

Friday brought more positive news.  Having read advice in an e-mail from Mesothelioma UK, the GP now says she would be happy to do the paperwork that will help smooth reapplying for DLA, should Steve feel the need to do so in the course of the next few months.  A big thank you to Liz Darlison of Mesothelioma UK whose support was invaluable, and to our GP who was open-minded enough to take it on board.

Saturday was the social highlight of the week - we were joined for lunch by a group of friends who came together in Oxford as students in the late 1960s and have kept in contact with each other since.  Although a bit cramped, it was lovely to sit around the table together, catch up on each others news and drink a toast to ourselves and our absent friends.  Thank you everyone for making it a special occasion!

There is another very special occasion to look forward to at the end of this week.  Steve will be 65 years young on Friday and there will be another gathering at our house to mark this auspicious event.  More of that in a future post!  

It seems to have been a good week all round for many individual meso warriors as well as the meso community worldwide.  Debbie in Plymouth has received a Certificate of Recognition in the Tesco Mum of the Year 2012 Awards and will be given the Alan Reinstein Award by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organisation (ADAO) for her commitment to education, advocacy and support to countless mesothelioma patients and families.  Well done Debbie!

At long last, Mavis and Ray in Kent enjoyed a rail trip and a special meal on the Orient Express, a Christmas present from her family, which she has bravely fitted in between chemo sessions.  Well deserved Mavis - and many treasured memories for you both!

Amanda and Ray are clearly enjoying themselves, after good scan results earlier this month.  Jan has also been out and about, walking the dogs in the woods at the weekend. We need to follow their good example and take more exercise in the fresh air!  

The repercussions of the Eternit trial in Turin continue to reverberate around the world, following the conviction of a Swiss tycoon and a Belgian baron for negligence resulting in over 2,200 asbestos-related deaths in northern Italy.  The deaths were caused by fibres being spread from the Eternit factories which made products with asbestos, such as roof coverings and pipes, up until 1986 some six years before asbestos was banned in Italy. 

I have been following the trial from here in the UK and it casts a long shadow - I still have vivid memories of handing bits of Eternit asbestos cement "slates" submitted for approval as roofing material samples for building schemes, back when I worked at Oxford City Council in development control.  After watching a TV documentary about asbestosis which was shown around that time, one of my colleagues flatly refused to handle or approve the use of this material and was chastised for her brave stand by the man in charge. But in retrospect, how right you were Barbara.  

As we look forward to Steve's birthday, our thoughts are with Tess who has had a rough time recently and three hospital visits to deal with this week; Jan, who is due to get her scan results by the end of the week; Mavis who is back on chemo today and Debbie who is due to return to work, part-time on Thursday. Stay positive people and remember, we're all in this together.  

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