Brigitte shares her diagnosis and how she rediscovered hope
Knowing I could talk to someone who really understands what it is like to be diagnosed with this disease was very reassuring and I began to feel more hopeful.
My diagnosis with Pleural Mesothelioma came after I had been referred to the hospital with shortness of breath. Initially I was told I would have four sets of chemotherapy but then that would be it. No more. I felt quite hopeless at this point and was finding it difficult to tell my family or friends about my diagnosis. It seems most likely that my exposure to asbestos came from washing my husband’s clothes. In those days, I did it all by hand. Adam had worked in a factory in Rockingham where asbestos was used.
Following the initial chemotherapy, I attended my GP for another concern and whilst there, picked up a Reflections leaflet. I talked to my husband about calling the free 1800 number, but at first, we thought it seemed that my case was hopeless and there was no point, it couldn’t change anything. However, a week or so later, the leaflet was still on my mind. So, I picked up the phone and talked to Jo Morris. That’s when everything changed.
Jo was able to help me understand more about the condition of Mesothelioma in a way I could understand.
She told me about a local support group coffee morning run by Reflections for those affected by asbestos related disease, and connected me with Bev, a lady in my area who has the same diagnosis. Knowing I could talk to someone who really understands what it is like to be diagnosed with this disease was very reassuring and I began to feel more hopeful. Bev and I talked on the phone, she gave me some excellent advice and suggested I see her Mesothelioma specialist – Dr Anna Nowak. A referral from my GP was all that was needed. Since then, I have been enrolled in a clinical trial and am having continuing treatment. Dr Nowak reassured me that although Mesothelioma does not yet have a cure. She will work with me to keep me healthy for as long as possible. She made living with this disease seem possible. I no longer feel like I’m just waiting to die.
Jo also mentioned that I may be able to access some compensation from the government dependent upon my circumstances and suggested some law firm’s specialist in this area. I have since met with our lawyer who has explained the complete process and reassured me, she is with me every step of the way. The compensation will help us make modifications to our house to make things a little easier and safer.
My advice for anyone who has been diagnosed with Mesothelioma is to get in contact with Reflections.
They can really help you and your loved ones navigate this exceedingly challenging time. Reflections do not charge anyone for the support they give but what they have given me is priceless. They gave me back some hope.
Brigitte is a retired nurse who lives with her husband Adam, South of Perth. She has three amazing children and several grandchildren to keep loving. (She also makes amazing German biscuits.)