Thursday, 9 January 2014

Nancy gives us her insight into Mesothelioma

I do like now and again to ask another to write for the blog and thought it was about time that Nancy gave us an insight into why she writes about this subject and if anything, what she has discovered over the years.

Writer Turns to Mesothelioma Community for Articles and Inspiration

Nancy Meredith is a writer for She has been writing a blog a day about mesothelioma for close to five years. Her topics include information about gene therapy, breakthroughs in chemotherapy treatment, clinical trials, helpful hints for dealing with mesothelioma, as well as profiling mesothelioma warriors. I have written guest blogs for Nancy, and today she is writing one for me talking about how she finds topics to write about and how the mesothelioma community has inspired her.
I have been writing about mesothelioma for five years, and I can honestly say I never tire of digging deep into the stories and news about this “nasty cancer.”  But unlike Jan who can write a complete novel about vampires in just three weeks, I often struggle for days to complete just one article about the latest mesothelioma breakthrough.

I believe it is critical to ensure that the information I present, whether it be about a clinical trial, a fundraising event, or the struggles a patient is facing, is from a reliable source or sources, could change the future of mesothelioma treatment and offers hope to those in the mesothelioma community.
There is never a shortage of information about mesothelioma, but weeding through it and finding legitimate stories is important. I am especially careful now after reading about the spoof that was done by Science magazine reporting on a cancer drug that was ready for testing in patients. (There was no such drug, and ultimately they suggested peer-reviewed journals as the best resource for accurate, scientific news.)

Although many people have asked me how I can find something to write about every day, Jan is one person who knows the answer: “Until there is a cure for mesothelioma,” she says, “there will always be news and stories of both hope and despair.”
Finding my topic of the day is not always easy. I search through newsfeeds, and spend hours poring over medical journals, hospital websites, health and government websites, and I reach out to experts in the field. I watch YouTube videos, read online forums and follow and “like” all things cancer related. Ultimately though, I have found that reporting on what life is really like for mesothelioma patients and their families makes the best articles.
Since I have reached out to the mesothelioma community, beginning with Jan, the stories I have been told have been uplifting, inspirational, and in short, extraordinary. While ‘researching’ these warriors, I am slowly pulled into their lives, and through my articles I try to convey the depth of their strength and resolve in a time of adversity. Each person and journey with mesothelioma is unique, and I try to find that one distinction among the patient that sets them apart – and keeps them fighting.
Don had his music, Mavis has her humor and love of camping, Billy focuses on his gardening, Lou has her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and her fight to ban asbestos, and Jan tells vampire stories and lays it all on the line to educate the public about the reality of mesothelioma. Mesothelioma does not define them, and it is their love of life that keeps them fighting for another day.
Each time I write an article, I have a goal to make a difference in someone’s life. I’m not sure if I’ve achieved that for any of my readers, but each time I write about another mesothelioma patient, the differences they make in my life are endless. Mostly, I have learned that no matter how overwhelming life's challenges and problems can be, we should all take the time to enjoy every precious moment.

About Nancy Meredith:

Nancy is a former IT professional who now dedicates her time to writing about mesothelioma. When she isn’t writing, she can be found teaching Insanity, a high-intensity exercise class, or running through the neighborhood. Nancy lives in Wake Forest, North Carolina with her husband and their dachshund, Scooter.

Nancy and Scooter Chilling out
As for the rest of the news, after having such a wonderful day Wednesday I thought all was well, I had showered, walked around the house several times and even gone onto my office computer.  Come to 10 pm and boy was I tired when this damn awful pain started in the centre chest.  I took 60 severdol and drained.  I left the drain in far too long as nothing was coming out but my insides were full.  It hadn't helped I hadn't emptied my bowels either.  By midnight we climbed wearily into bed but that damn clock came to 4.30 and bing I was awake.  My ear has pressure points on it, which at first woke me, then I needed to pee!  We kept the lights off as I slowly made my way to the toilet and then slowly back.  Gary was sure I would go straight back to sleep, so was I.  But no, I actually got into bed and put my good lung down, it took a lot of courage as my chest was painful and I felt full of fluid.  I did drop off, the next time I woke up I believe it was 7.00am and Gary said "please can't we lie in"  I wish, I thought.  I stayed till 7.30 but the pain was getting worse, plus all those toilet tablets were starting to work. 
I just managed to reach the bathroom this morning and boy was I emptied but unfortunately stomach ache followed due to the tablets, but I had nothing left inside of me to give.  An hour at least I sat with a hot water bottle.  Boy was my behind getting sore off that toilet seat.  I finally got up but the pain in my chest was getting worse.  We did what we were told and I rang the District Nurse.  They arrived rather quickly and gave me a 30 mg morphine injection.  It did take time to work but boy was I relieved, although since I had the injection I have been swaying between this world and dream world, my tablets never do that!
I am told that oramorph is good, the only problem is I take high doses of MST, 230 mg twice a day, which means as a one off hit I would need to drink 60 ml of the stuff, a large mouthful and not one that I would like to do. 
That's my news, I have gone 2 steps forward only to be knocked back by one, but at least I can still see the future.  My meeting tomorrow with the oncologist so I have my fingers crossed that radiotherapy will be offered to kill this sucker on my bronchial then maybe 4.30 will just become another time on the clock.
Good luck to Steve and Linda in Oxford who are due to see theirs, only problem they have, which is a big problem, water!  They are locked in by water, I just hope it ebbs away enough for them to escape and go and listen to the options on offer.
Lou in Australia has had good news, so good to get this as it lifts everyone.  No problems and 3 months of doing what she wants.  She has been asked by Pakistan to video link a conference they are holding banning the use of asbestos.  Well done Lou on being recognised as a voice of the meso warriors.
Thoughts to all out there, we have lost a few warriors again already and the year has just started, more new names are appearing in the community, this means more new people are being diagnosed!  When will we be rid of this disease, money and research is the key.
The Meso Bill was passed yesterday, I am not even going to go into it as I was disappointed, Mavis has done a full report on it on her blog, which you can read here.


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