By in Health & Fitness

Mesothelioma - When What Seemed Good Might Have Been Bad

A close friend of my is a good 13 years older than I am, at about 82-83 years of age.

Please don't imagine for a moment that he was feeble or, perhaps at best, holding his own. No.

This fellow ran, rode a motorcycle, traveled the world, skied, flew a plane... well, you get the point... until about a year ago.

He was skiing when he took a spill. Shortly after that spill, when he wasn't feeling better, he visited the doctor. There was fluid that had to be drained from the pleura about his lungs.

Later, on testing, it was found he had mesothelioma! Asbestos was in the process of claiming another victim. Yet, this appeared to be a moderately early case. Could something be done?

Now pause for a moment... I CONCLUDED my friend was fortunate to have taken that spill, since his condition in that fashion came to light. In short, his spill, I reasoned, was a good thing.

But the mind is a funny thing. Sometimes when you're not trying to think, the brain exhibits the tendency to keep thinking without you! It occurred to me. This is months later. What came to my mind?

I realized the exposure to asbestos occurred 40 years previously. The condition was dormant. The fellow might have died never knowing a kind of time bomb was tick-tick-ticking within him. His eventual demise might have come from something else.

Image Credit » Pixabay

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MegL wrote on October 30, 2017, 7:07 PM

Yes, it's hard to know whether the discovery was good or bad. He was lucky the mesothelioma lay dormant for so long.

VinceSummers wrote on October 30, 2017, 7:12 PM

Yes, you're right. As to the discovery being good... I don't know. Within a very short time his breathing (suddenly) became difficult, after 40 years. Awful coincidental. I'd say too coincidental. I believe the trauma activated the fluid formation. The ironic part is a large number of family members seem to develop lung cancer. My friend thus never smoked. He exercised considerably. He ate most carefully and in very moderate quantity. His whole life he lived in such a way he never needed credit, hence stress due to economic circumstances was non-existent. For decades, he's represented to us what some can be if they really take care of themselves. Ironic.

Last Edited: October 30, 2017, 7:13 PM

MegL wrote on October 31, 2017, 4:17 AM

He has lived to 83 in great shape. Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos dust. Either he worked somewhere that had asbestos before all the regulations about it came in or it was present in his environment, such as asbestos sidings or floor tiles or ceiling tiles and they got disturbed, maybe DIY. If I can go skiing at 82, I will feel pretty good (mind you I have never been skiing anyway, I prefer the warmth to the snow.) It's possible the trauma activated it or the shock to his system, which is pretty unfortunate. If he hadn't taken such good care of himself, maybe it would have activated earlier?

VinceSummers wrote on October 31, 2017, 7:21 AM

I believe he worked on mechanical parts made and the process produced ample particulate asbestos quite a few years ago. I expect it could have activated if he'd experienced trauma earlier. So in that respect he was fortunate. Even so, as I'm sure you'd be the first to admit, no one wants to suffocate slowly to death... No matter how old. So it's still a tragedy in that extra sense, beyond just an "ordinary" death, whatever that is. My uncle died due to factors associated with emphysema, and as a child I was asthmatic, which factors terrorized my early life. I was scared silly I would die similarly. Apparently I am not more likely to do so than the average guy. I outgrew the asthma in my 60s, believe it or not.