After 3 happy years together, my jobless boyfriend has been diagnosed with Pericardial Mesothelioma. His health had been great until recently when he started having trouble breathing and shooting abdominal pain. Initially I was shattered and I was not sure how to deal with the news. Then I realized that it is important to consider what to do next to help improve his health condition. I had heard that some courses of treatment would make it possible for him to get over the disease and he might get completely cured if the disease is in its initial stages. I was also sure that he would not consider treatment unless he was fully aware of the disease and knew that the treatment would not cost him money and he has been jobless for over a year.
We later took a trip to visit a lawyer who deals with this disease diagnosis because the cause is usually employer negligence. He said we need to be prepared mentally about the lawsuit and I have to make him sure that I can be there to support my boyfriend in any situation because this lawsuit can be a long, tough road. While the lawyer said there is little I can do as a non-official family member, being there to support him is the most important thing I can do.
Fortunately, his finances don’t play a role in the lawsuit against his former employer because the lawyer only gets paid if we win. In preparing for the case, we have to look for a capable healthcare provider who can testify on his behalf. The healthcare provider must deal with this form of Mesothelioma so my boyfriend will be completely comfortable and able to express himself freely.
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer by excessive exposure to asbestos and directly affects the Mesothelium. The Mesothelium is a protective lining which covers the internal organs and in this disease malignant cells are formed on this lining. In most cases, the Pleura (the outer lining of lungs and chest cavity) are affected. However, Mesothelioma on the Peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity) or the Pericardium (the sac surrounding the heart) also occurs. Thus, malignant Mesothelioma has three main categories based on the area of the mesothelium attacked: Peritoneal Mesothelioma, Pleural Mesothelioma and Pericardial Mesothelioma.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma can occur many years, even as many as 50 years, after being exposed to asbestos. The most common symptoms are Mesothelioma pain due to fluid collection in pleural area, coughing and breathlessness. In the case of Peritoneal Mesothelioma, there can even be abdominal swelling, weight loss and accumulation of fluid in abdominal cavity. Apart from these, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia and fever are also found commonly. In the case of pleural Mesothelioma, blood in the sputum, chest wall pain, anemia, fatigue and pleural effusion are also common. In severe cases, the person may develop many tumor masses or pneumothorax (collapse of the lung).
Mesothelioma does not affect the bone, brain or adrenal glands. Pleural tumors affect only one side of the lungs. The first process of diagnosis is to check the patient’s history for any asbestos exposure. Various tests like CT scan, chest x-ray, lung function tests, MRI scan needs to undertaken to diagnoses the disease. Treatment of Mesothelioma using conventional therapies like radiation, surgery hasn’t been very successful and new treatments are being developed. Unfortunately, the survival rate beyond one year after diagnosis is incredibly low.