Ann and Peter's Story

Told by Ann

My name is Ann.
I lost my husband to mesothelioma
on the 12th December 2008
I hope my story will help others
who are now making this journey.
Peter survived for 4 years after
being told he would die within 6 to 9 months.
I would like you to hear my story
on how Peter fought his battle
and mine as a carer. Regards Ann

I want to start my story by telling
everyone how proud I am of
my husband Peter.
He fought a long and hard battle
with Pleural Mesothelioma,
which eventually went to his abdomen.
Peter was diagnosed in Feb 05.

Peter started having problems
in the middle of 2004,
shortness of breath climbing stairs,
walking up hills etc.
We thought he was a little out of shape
which looking back at it now was
ridiculous because Peter exercised
every other day on the tread mill
and with weights.
So he was quite fit
(which I think helped him survive
as long as he did)
The doctor sent him for tests in late 2004
. They said the results would be back in a few days.
A few days to me is 3 days.
So when the results didn't come back
for 5 days I was on the doctors back
to find out why the results were not in.
Finally he called us into his office
and told us he thought Peter had mesothelioma
and was sending him to a specialist.
We looked at each other and said
what is mesothelioma?
Peter was a fitter and turner
when he was 16.
His first job he had to lag the tankers.
He use to get inside the barrel of the
trucks and pack the inside of
the truck with asbestos.
At the end of the day he would
get out of the truck and be covered
in this white stuff!!!!! Asbestos

We learnt very fast what it was.
We went to see the specialist.
He said he wanted to do a biopsy
to make sure what it was
(he knew exactly what it was
but had to confirm it)
The op was planned for early Feb 05 .
He had the op. early Tuesday morning 2nd Feb,05.
When he came back to the room
I couldn't believe it.
He had tubes every where.
They had done a pleurodesis
(pockets made and packed with talc.)
He was very uncomfortable.
We finally got the report
back from the lab.
On the Friday 4th April 05.
Peter had mesothelioma.
The doctor put his hand on Peter's shoulder
and told him to get his affairs in order
and make peace with God.
You have only 6 to 9 months to live.
You can imagine the look on our faces.
We then had to tell the children.
Their ages at the time 31,29,24,20 and 16.
(his parents who were elderly were another story.)

I looked up on the net to
get as much info as I could.
It was all doom and gloom
(don’t believe all you read on the net)
Peter came home from hospital
six days later (Peter couldn't stand it any longer)
We came home and Peter said,
"Well you had better get me a chair,
blanket and had better put paid TV on.
I will just sit here and wait.
That lasted 24 hours.
When he got up the next morning
he said I'm going to beat this.
So the fight began.
Us against meso.
Luckily here in NSW Australia we have
The Dust Diseases Board.
If it is proven the disease was work related
you receive a pension
and they help with medical bills.
Things around the house gardens,
pool etc. which is a great help.
You have enough to worry about without all that kind of stuff.
Peter did as much as he could around the house
(we have 13 acres to look after).
We also had the legal stuff to go through.
They do like to push it through quickly
as they don't expect you to live
very long. (we had news for them).
Peter had all the treatment he could.
He had Alimta which worked for about 2 years
then that stopped working so they
started him on Gemcitabene.
It didn't work for very long so
there wasn't anything left to use.
I will go into that a bit later.

Peter and I thought, right we don't know
how much time we have left
so let's make the most of what time we do have.
We went on some beautiful holidays
with family and friends.
The best holiday was when we took
all the kids and grand kids
4 of them and friends,
there was 45 people all up
and we went up to Hamilton Island
Whitsunday (Australia) and
renewed our Wedding Vows.
It was so beautiful
(I have tears just thinking about it)
they have a little chapel on the
Island it over looks the ocean
and it was just so wonderful,
something that will stay with me forever.

We also went to New Zealand,
Norfolk Island Tasmania,
we drove around the south of Australia,
we went up to the Darwin came down the centre of Aust.


Our last two trips which were only months
before Peter passed were to Tahiti
which was spectacular.
We were only home for a couple of weeks
and we went to Fiji,
so as you can see Peter didn't just curl up
and let meso get the better of him.
(a true Aussie)
Peter organized all of the trips .
Unfortunately, as we know meso
has a mind of its own.
The oncologist that was treating Peter was lovely
(All the staff at the hospital were lovely.
They are very special people)
He wouldn't give up.
He told Peter every-time he saw him
how good he looked,
which really lifted his moral.
The Dr would often ask Peter if he
would speak to a patient
who had just been diagnosed,
which Peter was happy to do.

We have a boat that was Peter's
pride and joy.
It is a Riviera 40 Platinum
we spent many days on the boat,
if Peter was feeling down,
we would just go down to the boat,
Peter would tinker about,
then we would sit and have a beer
and wine and just relax and
watch the sun go down,
it's memories like that,
that keeps me going.
Peter loved his family.
hey came first with him.
He was lucky he saw 2 of his sons married
and he walked his 2 daughters down the isle.


His 1st daughter Peta was married on the 23rd Dec 06
at Opera Point in Circular Quay.
Peter came out of hospital
on the 22nd he was in a wheelchair
but when it was time to walk her down
the isle he got out of the chair
and walked her down,
he was a very strong man.
Peter’s health started to slide about
that time. Nothing serious just different
things I noticed.
He still exercised a couple of times a week.


His second daughter Kate was married at Riverside Oaks in November 2007


Peter and the Boys
We had 18 months of in and out of hospital.
When we came back from Tahiti
we noticed Peter's stomach was a
little bigger than usual.
We thought he had put on
some weight on holidays.
We checked it with the Dr.
and he told us to come in and see him.
As you can guess the meso had gone to his stomach!!!
(we didn't think meso travelled)
They decided to drain the fluid
from his tummy,
well I couldn't believe it.
They guided a needle using ultra sound
into his stomach,
the needle was about 10 inches long,
it was very uncomfortable
(just thinking about it makes me cry)
They would drain about 5-6 liters
of fluid at a time.
The drawback with draining the fluid,
is it comes straight back and
Peter had this done once a week.
Eventually they put a port in so
Peter could have the drainage at home.
The community nurses would come and
drain it for him,
and at least it was more relaxing for him.
At this stage I knew things were not good
so I asked the nurses what to expect.
They said Peter would get to the stage
where he would not want to eat much,
he would get tired,
he would get to the stage
where he didn't want to get out of bed,
shower etc etc,
it would be over a period of 2-3 weeks.
So I thought ok none of that has happen yet
so I'm ok we have a lot more time.
What I didn't know was Peter's kidneys
would start to fail and there is not
much you can do when that happens.
He had to have blood test twice
a week to check his kidneys.

I always thought Peter would be
here at Christmas time.
Peter had his last blood test on Tuesday 9th Dec 08.
His Dr rang me and said he didn’t
think Peter had much time left.
I said to the Dr. "He will be here for Christmas?"
he said," I don't think so."
I got off the phone and thought
its only 2 weeks until Christmas.
That's when I started to get scared.
I rang the kids and told them to come
and see dad on the Tuesday night,
I told them what the Dr had told me,
(I still had not told Peter).
They where all in shock.
On the Wednesday Peter was tired.
It was the first day he didn't
want to get out of bed.
The kids came home again.
His second son Jason and I got him
to the shower and I showered him and
then Jason helped me get him back to bed.
On Thursday he didn't get out of bed
the nurses came to drain him but
they took one look at him and
took me down stairs and told me
he would not make it through they day.
(what happen to the 2-3 weeks?)

I was in shock (I was banking on the 2-3 weeks).
I told them they didn't know what they
were talking about and went back up to Peter
in bed and just laid with him.
I did have some friends with me
who helped me through the day.
I rang the kids again and told
them to come straight home.
They could not believe the difference in
Peter from the Tuesday to Thursday.
All I can be thankful for is he didn't suffer
the indignity of having people
taking him to the toilet etc.
He would have hated that.
I won't go into the details,
I got into bed with Peter and he passed
in my arms at 3.00am 12th December 08.
I'm glad I was with him.
I think of how he looked.
I always believe you remember the person
how you last saw them,
but I would not have it any other way with Peter.
It was as we both wanted him to pass.
At home in the comfort of his own bed.

I will end my story the way I started it.
Peter was my Hero and I loved him very much
and I miss him so very much.
I can't explain the pain I go through every day
(I know a lot of you have been there).
They say, just think of all the good
times you had and time will heal !
All I ask is how much time.
Dear Deidre I know I have gone on and on but
it has helped me a lot to get it of my chest,
Regards from Ann


On To Kelly and Travis's Stories