I was so excited when I received my first email from a reader. I felt like I had won the lottery. We only emailed a handful of times, but I received some beneficial information that led to this post. Initially, I thought it would be an excellent addition for Older American’s month in May. So, I began to consider (like many of us do), how can I make this interesting? I sat on it for a while, in typical procrastinator fashion, and when I revisited the idea, I realized there was more to my apprehension.
So, the topic was closer than I wanted to remember. My grandfather was a carpenter and an all-around handyman. If he could visualize it, he could build it. This meant he was always surrounded by dust, dirt, and fibers. Add to that, before my birth he was a heavy smoker (found that out later). When I was growing up, my grandparents had one jar of old-fashioned mixed candy and another dish with Hall’s cough drops. My grandfather always coughed, but he never really seemed to complain of any other symptoms. Then again, I was a kid, so there really was no point in telling me.
My grandfather became ill between my 5th and 7th-grade year in school. I remember my mother driving back and forth to take care of him. Back then I figured he had lung cancer. It was a sad time, but I didn’t learn until much later it was more than that. He passed during my 7th-grade year. A few years later, commercials began to air about mesothelioma. I had a vague understanding of what it was. Of course, it was described as a cancer of the lung, but that was about as far as ventured, initially.
When I began working with aging populations, I had the privilege of working with many groups and organizations that advocated for the rights of seniors, provided resources, and enjoyed collaborating and sharing their knowledge. At Senior Day conference, I spoke with agencies that were supporting seniors and their families facing challenges associated with the disease. Later when I shared the information with my family, I discovered that was the ailment my grandfather had.
Now, this post was not intended to be “Debbie Downer: Monday post. I want to share any information and resources I gather to assist in bridging gaps and turning on light bulbs. Here is a link to check out if you’re interested in (or someone else) information concerning asbestos-related illnesses or support please check out:
Keep on pushing,
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