July 6, 2011
This is my brother.
He would have turned 32 on July 9, 2011. However, he died of peritoneal mesothelioma on December 20, 2010. He was only 31 years old. He didn’t have an opportunity to get married nor have kids. His life ended before he really had a chance to live it. His life ended because of someone’s disregard for life. My mother lives every parent’s worst nightmare because she outlived her child. My siblings and I lost our brother and friend. His nephews and nieces lost their uncle. My brother never worked in an asbestos related industry. How he was exposed to asbestos is a mystery but the only way he would have developed the disease is by being exposed to asbestos.
You can read more about how the affect that this illness and disease has had on our lives at the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization’s site in an article titled A Life Cut Short. (updated 4/4/12)
Peritoneal Mesothelioma is one heck of a terrifying and debilitating disease and my family saw that first hand. It is not something I would wish upon my worst enemy. When my brother received his diagnosis in November, the odds were against him. He was told that he had to have surgery as soon as possible and the surgery was scheduled the day before Thanksgiving. My brother never had the opportunity to find out that his cancer was caused by asbestos fibers invading his body and that this was a condition that was 100% preventable but once person is exposed to asbestos, there is no way to prevent their developing the disease.
Without the surgery, he was given six months to live. This surgery was the only option the doctors gave us. Most people diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma don’t get more than a year to live. My brother didn’t even have that. He had a miserable six weeks after his diagnosis where we watched him suffer and deteriorate away.
I have not really come to terms with my family’s loss. I don’t think any of us have. I ask myself daily how we lost him and the only answers I have are here at my blog. They are the only reminder as to what happened to my family because it is not something any of us want to remember.
The following links show my feelings and my updates about what happened and without these posts, I don’t think I could remember because I really don’t want to.
Many months later, I still don’t believe it. It has taken a lot out of me to get to this point but I am ready to start talking about this awful disease and to stand up against those who exposed my brother and millions of others to asbestos. To the companies that exposed people to asbestos, my brother is just a statistic just like the millions that have developed the disease and died as a result. To me, he was my brother and he was important to me. To me, he is not a mere statistic; he was my brother and for 31 years, he was my brother.
What Cancer Cannot Do
Cancer is so limited
It cannot cripple love
It cannot shatter hope
It cannot corrode faith
It cannot destroy peace
It cannot kill friendship
It cannot suppress memories
It cannot silence courage
It cannot invade the soul
It cannot steal eternal life
It cannot conquer the spirit.