23rd. January; 2000
My husband died from asbestos cancer on December 16th, 1998.
I was glad to see your site. Like you I am trying to find out as much about asbestos as possible. I also would like to help others to find out early so they might have a better chance of fighting this cancer.
It is late now so I need to go to bed but will mark your site and stay in touch with you.
I will send more details of my husband soon.
Thank you for your efforts.
28th January; 2000
Thanks again for all your efforts. Did you get any compensation for your husband's death? I am just now filing a suit for Jim.
I need to go to bed now so I can work in the morning. I had written you a nice long e-mail and my computer cut off right at the end of it and I lost it so I apologise for this short response.
I would really like to become involved in your efforts. I am not sure what the answer is but surely we must do something and hopefully keep others from losing their lives.
Jim and Cody
Glad to hear from you again.
I was a hair dresser for 29 years and then became a caregiver for the last 12 years.
Jim was in construction for the last almost 30 years.
Jim's dad worked in California at John's Manville from 1948 to 1963 when they moved from California to Oregon. Jim was about 15 years old when they moved to Oregon.
Jim remembers his dad coming home with his clothes covered with asbestos dust.
His dad built a pipe fence around the house and brought tarps home from the plant to put up over the patio for shade.
Jim's dad died at age 71 after building a beautiful home for his wife Norma on the 20 acres in Oregon. Lung cancer was the culprit!
Jim and I met in 1989 and got married in 1990. I have one daughter who has two wonderful boys. Jim never got to see his last last grandson!
Jim had two children and two grandchildren.
We noticed that Jim was losing weight over the last two years. His weight was normally about 160 and he was 5' 10. He was always on the lean side so it was hard to see it when I was with him everyday.
On his 50th birthday we had a big party. This was the 2nd of August and he put some shorts on to keep cool. I was shocked when I saw him. We have some pictures and they really show how thin he had become. About this time he had started showing signs of losing his breath.
He was not one to go to a doctor but I had a fit and he made an appointment that week to go in.
His lung was collapsed and the cavity had filled with fluid. He made another appointment to have his lung drained and specimens sent in for testing. The Doctors were guessing cancer but couldn't get the evidence that they needed. He was then scheduled for more testing where they put the scope down into your lung and look around and to get a better biopsy.
Still the results were not conclusive. His lung was drained once again. Jim fainted this time and they had to wait and try again later.
Then surgery was scheduled for September 12th.
I knew in my heart that the news was not going to be good. My mother, Jim's mother my daughter and my sister were there with me when the surgeon gave us the news that it was terminal.
It is impossible to prepare for that kind of news.
I went upstairs to see Jim and and talked to the Doctor in the hallway.
He told me Jim would have three months to a year to live.
(This is very hard to write)
I had to regain my composure so I could go into his room and smile and pretend I didn't know yet what the prognosis was. The doctor came in then and and broke the news to him. Jim never cried in front of me. He was so strong and accepted his fate like a man.
I felt so bad for him. It was so hard to be strong in front of him.
We talked about chemo but they gave no hope saying that this was a rare cancer and that they would be experimenting and that Jim would be very sick and in the hospital a lot.
Jim and I decide that we would like to spend the time left in other ways.
We started using natural remedies which kept Jim very busy with juicing all of his meals. At least we had a little hope for a short time.
We had one overnight trip to the coast. We couldn't walk on the beach but it was nice to have our last little trip together.
Jim wanted to work so he drove our motor home to the job site and could rest on his breaks. This didn't last long...maybe a week and it was to much for him. He decided he couldn't do it.
His sister and daughter came to see him from the East Coast the first week in Dec. The day after his sister left on a Friday he got worse and we put him on oxygen.
That Sunday our driveway filled up with his buddies pickups. And at least 30 of his friends showed up with saws, axes and a backhoe to cut up fire wood and fill our shed for the winter. Most of them didn't come in.. I'm sure they didn't want to break down in front of him.
He mustered up enough strength and with a cane (the one his father had used) walked out side to thank everyone. I will never forget their kindness! I am still using the fire wood that they put in for me!
Monday Jim got worse and had a terrible time breathing.
I called the Hospice.
I am a care giver and have worked in hospice situations many times.
I was a complete basket case when it came time
for me to care for my own husband.
I couldn't believe how different it was.
We scheduled Jim to have his lung cavity drained again on Tuesday afternoon.
His mother and I were with him.
He was so miserable. I stood in front of him and and let him grip my hands. He squeezed so hard that he bent my wedding rings.
He was so weak that we encouraged him to stay the night in the hospital and would pick him up the next morning. I had no idea that the end was so near.
I got a call from the doctors the next morning telling me that I needed to be there because Jim was dying.
When I arrived Jim sat up on the edge of the bed and asked what was going on? How do you tell your husband that he is dying?
He lay down and never got back up. His family and mine were there with him and his mother and I administered the Morphine in doses enough to keep him out of pain.
Jim died Dec. 16th almost exactly 3 months after his diagnosis.
I will write more soon.
Pat and Jim's house.
3rd March; 2000
Thanks so much for staying in touch. I have been working for a straight month and just been really busy. I'm not complaining at all.... I'm so glad to have the work. I need to keep Busy.
How are you doing? Thanks so much for the wonderful write-up on your web page. I will try to get some pictures to you as soon as I get some free time.
It's been more than a year now and I am just now feeling I can start making some decisions again about my life. When they say you should wait a year they should really say two or three.
Financially, I go day by day. I'm sure you know the feeling. I will be 51 on March the 31st, and just can't believe I am a widow!. Seems like I should wake up from this really bad dream. Does this feeling ever go away?
I plan to stay in my home if I can keep on working and I don't break an arm or something. It's a wonderful rustic home that sits right against a game refuge. Lots of forest and no real neighbours. My nearest neighbour is at least half a mile away. We can see each others houses but have our own privacy.
I raise little tiny pet pigs called "Royal Dandies" I created the breed and I have sold only one breeding pair. So there are only two breeders in the whole wide world. I have an English Bulldog named Winston and some Bengal cats that I raise.
I have lots of pictures of Jim with all the "critters". He really enjoyed them. I better get back to work now.
Jim and mini-mare
1st April; 2000
It's so good to hear from you!
I have no excuse for not writing sooner except that I have been keeping real busy. My kids moved out into their own apartment and I've been really getting into the corners and closets trying to get this house back into order.
Yes, I got your address. I now have my scanner working so I can send some pictures via e-mail.
I wanted you to see our house and some pictures of Jim and our family. I am feeling a little better now. When they say "time will heal" I guess they are right. It's been over a year and I am starting to get my sense of humour back a little. I actually visited with Jim's mom the other day without crying!
I am alone in this house for the very first time too. My emotions run from how beautiful it is here and how lucky I am, to a deep sadness that everywhere I look I can still see Jim and wish deeply that he was back here with me.
Enough of that! Today is my 51 birthday. My daughter is working for me so I get a whole day off! It is sun shining out and is just beautiful. I plan to get outside and get my fountains going today. I have my computer by the window so I can look out over the meadows.
How is everything with you? I have been showing your web site to everyone. You have done such a great job. I am working on a similar one and want to link to you when I am done if that is OK.
I hear my animals beckoning to me for their morning meal. I will send pictures.