Fighting an aggressive cancer with an aggressive treatment
Aside from being diagnosed accurately and early, I had another great tool that helped me survive mesothelioma: a great medical team that encouraged me to fight. Mesothelioma is extremely difficult to cure because it develops in many small tumours that are difficult to remove surgically. There is almost always some cancerous tissue that gets left behind.
One of the only ways to cure the cancer is to have very aggressive surgery to remove a lot of tissue from the chest cavity. I decided to undergo this treatment, called extrapleural pneumonectomy, so I would have a chance to live. My surgeon removed one lung, my pleural tissue, lymph nodes, and part of the diaphragm, which had to be reconstructed.
This treatment is risky because it is so extensive, and I could have died. For me, though, it was the only option. The surgery went well, and afterwards I received some radiation therapy to help eliminate any remaining cancerous tissue in my chest cavity. Having been given just two years or less to live, I fought back, but was then facing a long road to recovery after a difficult surgery.