Sandy's Story.

16th February; 2000
I am beginning research on mesothelioma.
My father, a retired welder worked around
asbestos while installing and fixing gas
lines for a major company in the twin cities (St Paul, Minneapolis )

He has had a spot on his lung noted before,
but he is now developing symptoms that relate.

I am trying to be informed.

16th February; 2000
My father has had a spot on his lung that
has been noted for at least 5 years.
Lately, he has been extremely winded,
had a dry cough,
and the most recent xray; 
this past week has shown a line
across his lung.
He goes in for a cat-scan tomorrow
I have done a bit of researching
on the internet and if he does
have the mesothelioma,
the prognosis will not be good.
My father retired as a welder,
pipefitter for a States power
company in Minnesota.
Although his work was with gas lines,
he was prone to work in areas
where there was damaged gas lines.
I believe this would most
likely have included old buildings.
Also his father spent time as a mason
, in southern Minnesota.
I don't know if he would have been
exposed to asbestos via the mason work,
but he actually worked in mining areas
so it would be likely.

Dad only had one other sibling,
an older brother who is in poor health.
His brother's problems though
seem to be unrelated .
Dad was born in 1934 in southern Minnesota.
His parents moved to St. Paul
(Capital city of Minnesota)
in the 40's.
He married my mother in 1954.
There are five of us siblings
(three sisters, and two brothers).
My elder sisters helped Mom with
most of the cleaning and laundry.

I am in the military and will be retiring this year.
I have three wonderful children
who love Grandpa dearly.
I myself, am Daddy's girl.
Everything that I have become can
directly be related to his
great love of the outdoors,
his belief in helping others,
devotion to our family,
and love of life.
Because I am currently stationed in Texas,
I have heard about Dad's problems
from three siblings and expect
the fourth to call soon.
Dad, always my debate partner
and confidant,
never wants to worry me and
says little about his recent
"flu" that knocked him on his
back for two weeks, or his cough.
I will keep you informed and pray for the best.

Yesterday is for memories,
tomorrow for dreams.
We can neither change the
past or predict the future.
We must live for today.
Today is real.

20th February; 2000
Thanks Deidre.
I haven't been able to find out the situation yet.
Dad refused to look at the cat scan
and for obvious reasons doesn't
want to discuss the situation.
I hope to find out soon
and pray for the best.
Thanks for the information.
Hopefully I can approach my father
over the phone this weekend.
As you can expect,
everyone is frightened but luckily
they don't live that far from the Clinic.
Thanks Sandy.

20th February; 2000
I finally talked to my brother and father today.
It is asbestosis.
We are so relieved.
I know that Dad is not out of the woods
and that this can progress further,
however , There Is Hope!!!!
Dad was pretty happy.
He went to a steak house
to celebrate afterwards.
He let me know that they worked
on and off in an area where they replaced
gas lines requiring that they knocked all
the asbestos off the pipes
to do the work.
He also spent several years working
in an old ex-mining building
for the gas company until they
moved into more modern buildings.
We know that both lungs have scar tissue
and the left is about 1/3 scarred.
The right is fine with slight scarring.
We will continue to monitor the
situation and he sees another
specialist next week.
In the meantime he told me to get
a series B chest xray because the
normal ones don't show the asbestos.

I didn't tell you about this,
but during the 70's,
in Junior High School
I did some work on asbestos
and it's effects on fish for a science project.
This was around 1973 before a lot
of the information about asbestos was out.
I did extensive work with asbestos,
feeding and working with both
infected and control fish.
This included disection and cutting
cross sections to show the effect
asbestos had in fish.
The research lasted several months
when I was measuring the asbestos
and placing it in the water.
I don't think there will be any problems
but I will take his advice to heart
and have the work done.
I received second place at
the state science fair.
I realized through my research
that the asbestos not only went
into the gills/lungs but
also through the whole body.
When I saw this,
I understood the great uproar
in my State over the dumping of taconite
(refined ore) tailings into
Lake Superior because it put asbestos
into the water we drank.
They have since stopped, however,
I need to get a physical now anyways,
so I will have them check my lungs
as recommended by Dad.

Dad is seeing a lawyer soon,
and getting in touch with workman's
compensation to see what
can/will be done.
My prayers will never cease for him.
I remain optimistic,
and pray for all those who have
been subjected to these terrible diseases
until we can find a way to relieve
the suffering and hopefully a cure.

21st February; 2000
Thank you, I will pass on the blessings
to my father and ask him about the story.
Knowing Dad, he is probably planning
an ice fishing trip or a vacation
down here to visit us already.
Mortality brings us to grips with
that which we have not accomplished
and may never accomplish.
He may never put off his dreams again,
because he has been given a reprieve
to dream and live them.
I am so sorry about Thom and the
lack of knowledge of the doctors
and technicians.
If we only knew then,
thank goodness we are learning.
Your site is a great way to get
the word out to others,
and like spring time it will blossom.
Just give it time Deidre.
I will ask Dad,
and I know he is pushing each one
of us to get a chest xray.
Thanks again.

22nd February; 2000
Hi Deidre,
Haven't spoken to Dad yet
but did get the low-down on his results.
The Cat scan says that he has abnormalities
in the lungs with honey-combing,
and the tissues show thickening with
"Ground Glass" areas,
mainly in the left lung.

There are also several areas showing
changes occurring within his lungs,
which I believe means it is spreading.
In Wanda's story I see a direct relation
in her husband's occupation and the types
of buildings in which my father worked.
It is amazing! I pray for her,
her family, you and each of the families
that have been torn by asbestos.

It amazes me how oblivious we as humans can be.
Through asbestos, people saw only the
safety of lives it would bring through it's flame retardants.
The purpose of asbestos was to keep us safe.
Although through the years the installation
of asbestos may have saved countless lives,
it has also taken them.
But taken them in a long and agonizing death.
How many more things are out there
that we thought would save lives,
that will probably harm us just as much as asbestos.

Sandy and Greg
Desert Storm
Saudi Arabia/Iraq,

I guess I question this more now since
my husband and I served in the
Desert Storm and there are people that
have had problems and died from exposure
that the government and physicians
just can't pin point.
We have had three healthy
children since then.
What will it be next?.
It's frightening.
It makes me want to find some where to hide
and continue raising my children, but where?
I have to continue my beliefs
that mankind as a whole is kind,
and that greed will not surpass the
humanity in us for saving this world
for those who will come after us.
For as you know, there must be hope.
Without hope there appears no reason to continue.
By the way, the weather here is lovely for winter.
Today my husband played softball
with the boys in the backyard,
and we celebrated my daughter's
8th birthday by eating Chinese in town
with his parents who are visiting this week from Illinois.

26th February; 2000.
I haven't spoken with my father.
Every time I call he is out doing
something or visiting friends.
Mom is certainly relieved as
are my brothers and sisters.
I hope to reach him this weekend
and ask him about putting the information
on line. I don't think he'll mind but,
I want his approval and I am
dad's little girl no matter how old I am.
Till I talk with dad and get an Xray
I probably won't have much to say.
This experience is making me hug the kids
just a little tighter and enjoying life
just a little bit more . Kisses! Sandy.

26th February; 2000.
Dad said it was alright to print the messages.
He also said that another guy he
worked with has the same condition.
He also says his lungs inhale fine
but he is not exhaling all of the carbon monoxide
out of his lungs, since they don't collapse completely;
so he is doing breathing exercises
to prevent the c.m. from remaining in his lungs.
Also, he talked to a lawyer but
apparently there are about 60 companies
that made asbestos products
and now they have to find out which ones
placed their products in the buildings.
He was in (circa 1920) and he found out there
is also a one year statute of limitations
on filing a claim and he may be beyond that.
Overall he is feeling well
unless he exerts himself.
Then he has trouble catching his breath.
He should have his final findings next week,
but it appears his lung capacity
and usage is down quite a bit, Sandy

3rd March; 2000
I've been looking at the site.
It is great. I cried looking at it,
all of the emotions that I went through
came back as if it was happening again.
I still haven't had time to get a chest X-ray.
I have been working my brain,
preparing to go to a job fair
for three days in Dallas, Texas.
I hope I will receive a few job offers
so I can ensure that the family has more than
my meager retirement pay to depend on.
Dad was pretty jovial when I called on Sunday.
However he told me that there was another guy
that he worked with
who is having the same problems.
Apparently, the person who initially read his xrays
noted the spot on both dad and his friend's xrays.
However when a new person came
in as the Xray tech,
this one said there was nothing wrong
with either of them.
Smells fishy to me.
Dad said when he heard there was nothing wrong,
he was so relieved.
It appears the first xray reader was more accurate.
Thanks for sharing your story and website with me...again, Sandy

22nd April, 2000;
I had my physical.
Everything looks fine.
I will retire from the military 31st July
and have a job already!
We are looking to move the end of May,
and take a small vacation on the way
to visit our parents.
Actually, I can't wait to hug mom and dad
and then do some camping and fishing
with the kids before things get hectic again.
I'll write periodically to see
what's going on with you.
Have a blessed Easter and hug your family for me,Sandy

Updated on the 1st May 2011,
In the fall of 2005.
We took our last vacation with dad
and my younger brother and our families.
We all knew it would be the last vacation
because my father was becoming so weak.
We ensured that he had enough oxygen
and travelled up near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area
near Grand Marais Minnesota,
close to the Canadian Border.

Dad and Nathan on their last fishing trip

This was always one of our favourite areas.
We camped and dad whittled sticks
with the date and a reminder to each of the kids
that they would never forget our last outing.
We had to help dad quite a bit,
but we got him into the boat
and he was able to spend a few hours fishing,
something I will always remember when I think of dad
- his great love for the outdoors.


Amy, Chris, Greg, Nate, Carl and Dad
with his grandchildren on their last camping trip

My father died on 31 July 2006 ,
at home with my brother James,
his wife Cindy and my sister Suzi
holding his hand.
It was so heartbreaking,
to see my father weak and bedridden.
But dad still had his values and encouraged us each to
continue to learn until the day we died, as he did.

Dad and Nicolette at her graduation.

He was an inspiration to each of us.
I drove up from Texas to spend a few weeks with him
when we began hospice care.
I slept in a cot or on the couch
in the living room near where we had moved an
adjustable bed and chair for him.

Deanna, Nathan and Christopher
Sandy and Gary's three children
"Big Bertha" as this tree is fondly called,
where Sandy used to climb as a child
The tree is just as big now
and is still being climbed.

His final days consisted of morphine
which he dipped in his 'chew' (Copenhagen)
which he had given as a young man and very little food,
since his appetite was so small
and his weight loss so great.
It's amazing that a man who didn't smoke,
could be dying of this horrific disease.
It tore me apart watching my father
gasp for the air that couldn't fill his lungs
and being denied that retirement
that he so dreamed of for so many years.

The family gathered for a last farewell
before selling the family homestead last year.
The family grew up here,
raised their children
and visited this house
for over fifty years.


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