My name is Debbie Brewer and in September 2006 I had a future. All that changed on 13th November 2006 when I was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a lung cancer that is almost always contracted through exposure to Asbestos.
I was born in 1959 and am the eldest of four daughters. I believe I was exposed to asbestos through my father’s work clothes. My father, Philip Northmore, worked for the MoD in Plymouth between 1963 and 1966. He was a lagger and would be in close contact with asbestos as his job would mean he would have to scrape asbestos from pipes.
According to his statement, he would come home covered in asbestos dust and my mother would complain about the amount on his clothing. She has also said that she needed to wash his clothes three times as the water would be white.
No parent in their right mind would knowingly expose their child to this danger and he would have been mortified if he ever thought he would have given any of his four daughters this life sentence.
My dear dad died on 26th August 2006; he had plueral plaque, no signs of mesothelioma. He had chemotherapy and died 3 months before I was diagnosed with mesothelioma.
I asked my GP to send me for the X-ray as I had read about mesothelioma and fitted the 'criteria' for the illness. After going for the X-ray I was shocked to find that an abnormality had shown up and I was called back to my G.P’s surgery the same day.
I had many tests done and a VATs (Video Assisted Thorscoscopy) operation performed and this operation not only confirmed my diagnosis but also changed my life. The pain and breathlessness I suffered before the VATS operation had diminished, although I still get breathless and the odd ache but nothing like it was before.
One of my sister's has had an X-ray and thankfully, she has nothing to show she has any symptoms of mesothelioma. My youngest sister has yet to go and get an X-ray. She is terrified and I sympathise with her and my other sister, as it is such a nightmare. I would not wish this death sentence on my worst enemy.
My only hope is that it stays that way and they do not have to go through the hell I am going through.
I have three wonderful children and want to give them the world. I want to be there for them, see them develop into responsible adults, support them with their careers, relationships, first homes, families of their own and seeing my grandchildren whenever that may be. I didn’t expect them to become my carers. My daughter has a bright future ahead of her and I don’t want her to sacrifice that for me. My middle son has yet to decide what he wants to do and I am not sure how much my youngest understands all that is happening.
Since being diagnosed, I have been to Germany for a research treatment which helped me a lot. This has to be paid for privately. I did have money from a claim which helped pay for it, since this ran out I was blessed to have many friends who fund raised for me to go again.
To date, I am in the local hospice, my breathing is difficult but I intend to get over it and continue fighting. I have also been lucky enough to meet so many amazing people on face book. The "Meso Warriors" are a world wide group of carers and patients who strive to support one another with anything to do with the asbestos and awareness, There should be a world wide ban. At present it is still imported and exported in the USA and Canada and other poorer countries are paid to work for little money to feed their families with large corporate fat cats covering up the truth.
I hope I can do something to highlight this awful cancer and hopefully change the minds of politicians and some professionals who feel this cancer will eradicate itself. It may well do that but in the meantime there are people who will suffer and die from this and families who will be left without parents, sons, daughters and grandparents.
Together we will fight, change is possible.