Getting diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer caused by asbestos, can come as a surprise to many. Because symptoms can take 20-50 years to develop, this disease is often not identified until it has progressed to later stages — leaving patients overwhelmed with questions about what comes next.
How did this happen? What can I expect? Are there others who have survived? These are just a few questions you and your family might be juggling.
Were you or your loved one diagnosed with mesothelioma? Contact Sokolove Law to see if we can help you afford life-changing treatment.
Thankfully, these questions do not have to go unanswered. Mesothelioma survivors’ stories can spark hope for all those affected by this cancer.
6 Mesothelioma Survivors’ Stories
The inspiration and hope that mesothelioma survivors’ stories can provide to thousands of others who are suffering from this cancer is invaluable.
Stories from fellow asbestos exposure victims can help patients:
- Find an understanding and supportive community
- Get motivated to determine their legal options
- Identify treatment options and alternative therapies to ease their symptoms
Read these inspiring mesothelioma survivors’ stories and learn more about their journeys with this disease.
Brenda: Facing Peritoneal Mesothelioma for 15 Years
In 2004, Brenda, a resident of Missouri, was unexpectedly diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma. She didn’t know that asbestos crept into her family home on her father’s work clothing when she was a child.
Later in her life, Brenda was exposed again when her ex-husband unknowingly brought asbestos home from his job as a mechanic.
Despite the shock and devastation of her diagnosis, Brenda decided to face mesothelioma head on. She researched top specialists to help her treat the cancer, and she strived to remain positive in the midst of a troubling prognosis.
"My positivity comes from family, praying an awful lot, and keeping myself busy with life. I keep all the positive things — digging in my garden, planting flowers, friendship, camaraderie — I live for at the front of my mind."
– Brenda, 15-Year Mesothelioma Survivor
Brenda survived peritoneal mesothelioma for 15 years thanks to treatments like chemotherapy and surgery.
“I don’t think about the disease unless someone asks me about it. I think that’s the way you survive — you forget about it,” Brenda explained. “You live through it, you survive it, and you forget about it.”
Ernie: Surviving Mesothelioma After Occupational Asbestos Exposure
At only 17 years old, Ernie joined the automotive industry as a mechanic, a high-risk occupation for asbestos exposure. After only a few years as an apprentice, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in Korea.
Veterans make up one-third of all mesothelioma diagnoses every year because of the high amounts of asbestos used in every branch of the military.
When he retired from the military, Ernie returned home and continued work as a mechanic until the late 1990s, when he began experiencing shortness of breath and shoulder pain.
In 2002, Ernie was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, the most common type of mesothelioma — eight years after his painful symptoms began.
Ernie’s doctors began a triple-modality approach to combat the progression of his mesothelioma: chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. Combined with his lifelong positive attitude, these treatments helped Ernie survive mesothelioma for over seven years following his diagnosis.
Ginger: Mesothelioma Survivor Story
When Ginger received her mesothelioma diagnosis in 2010, she was 40 years old. The news was especially devastating because her husband Jarrod was already fighting a brain tumor.
Both Ginger and Jarrod were unable to work after their respective diagnoses, which left them financially worried about how to cover living expenses and costly cancer treatment.
Ginger decided to file a successful mesothelioma lawsuit and secured much-needed compensation for the couple’s steep medical costs.
Now more than 10 years after her diagnosis, Ginger volunteers at the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and helps lead a prayer group for patients, caregivers, and their families to share their mesothelioma survivors’ stories.
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John: Construction Worker Turned Mesothelioma Survivor
For over four decades, John was a dedicated construction worker in Nevada. One morning in 2019, he woke up feeling unwell. His wife convinced him to go to a nearby clinic, where doctors discovered over 2 liters of fluid in his lungs.
Shortly after, John was diagnosed with stage 4 pleural mesothelioma. His mesothelioma specialists worked quickly to set him up with several rounds of chemotherapy.
“At first, it didn’t really sink in. The longer and longer I thought about it, I realized that it’s going to end my life eventually, but I’m going to live it as well as I can.”
– John, 3+ Year Mesothelioma Survivor
Since beginning treatment almost four years ago, John is feeling better and remains dedicated to spending the most time he can with his beloved family.
Julie: Surviving Secondhand Asbestos Exposure
Growing up, Julie’s father worked as an electrician. He often came home covered in dust from different worksites, unaware of the fact that microscopic asbestos fibers clung to his hair and clothes. In 2005, he sadly lost his life to asbestos-related lung cancer.
Asbestos changed Julie's life again in 2006, when doctors found a mass in her abdomen that they believed to be ovarian cancer. During surgery, however, they discovered it was actually peritoneal mesothelioma. She was given only 6-12 months to live.
With a young daughter at home, Julie was determined to find treatment that would allow her child to grow up and remember her mother.
“I look back on doing that one-day-at-a- time thing, and all of a sudden I realized that I’ve accumulated a lot of days [with my daughter]. Soccer games, 8th-grade graduation, high school graduation, Christmases, and the start of college.”
– Julie, 17+ Year Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survivor
After several surgeries and chemotherapy, doctors have considered Julie’s mesothelioma stable.
As a mesothelioma survivor, Julie continues to advocate for victims of asbestos and encourage those diagnosed to seek legal help, so they can afford the same life-extending treatment she could.
Mary Jane: 15-Year Peritoneal Mesothelioma Survivor
Prior to her diagnosis, Mary Jane struggled with serious abdominal bloating for over a year, causing her to lose an alarming 20 pounds. After a gallbladder surgery in 2003, doctors discovered she had peritoneal mesothelioma.
Immediately, Mary Jane and her family began searching for the best specialists who could treat her rare cancer. She underwent chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, making dozens of trips from Ohio all the way to New York for treatment.
The mesothelioma financial compensation she received from a lawsuit helped her pay for travel expenses.
“It changes your life. When you have a disease that there is no cure for, it’s this dark cloud that hangs over your head. But I made it. I did it.”
– Mary Jane, 15-Year Mesothelioma Survivor
After becoming medically stable, Mary Jane shared her story and advocated for mesothelioma patients across the country. She lived 15 years after her diagnosis before passing away from Alzheimer's disease.
Ready to see if you qualify for compensation? Call Sokolove Law now at (800) 995-1212 to see if we can help you.
Ways to Improve Chances of Mesothelioma Survival
As these mesothelioma survivors’ stories have shown, long-term survival is possible. Early detection and prompt treatment are the best ways to improve your mesothelioma life expectancy.
Factors that impact how this disease will progress include:
- Cell type
- Location of the tumor(s)
- Patient’s age and overall health
- Stage of the cancer at diagnosis
- Type of mesothelioma
- Whether or not the cancer has spread
Many patients have had success by pairing traditional treatments with alternative treatment options, such as nutritional changes, body-stress reduction techniques, and palliative therapies. It’s important to discuss all mesothelioma treatment options with your doctor and medical team.
Some people may prefer treatments that ease symptoms, so they can live their remaining time as comfortably as possible. Other patients may want to do everything they can to extend their life expectancy, even if that means putting up with side effects.
No matter how you approach treatment, remember that there are resources available at every step to help you.
Sokolove Law Supports Mesothelioma Survivors & Their Families
Although there is no cure for mesothelioma, there are many mesothelioma survivors' stories that prove patients may live years longer than their initial prognosis.
At Sokolove Law, we understand how physically, emotionally, and financially devastating it can be when you or someone you love is diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Filing a mesothelioma claim can help victims of asbestos exposure pay for medical expenses and secure their family’s financial well-being for years to come.
Our mesothelioma lawyers have recovered more than $4.8 Billion for our clients affected by mesothelioma and their families. We are committed to fighting for you and charge no upfront fees.
If you have a case, our team of asbestos attorneys may be able to:
- Negotiate a mesothelioma case settlement with the defendant(s) in your case
- File VA benefit claims for veterans with asbestos-related diseases
- Submit claims with any asbestos trust funds set up by bankrupt asbestos companies