Before 2001, I knew little about mesothelioma. While I understood that mesothelioma was fatal, I knew little about the trials or travails faced by patients. My life and understanding of the devastating nature of mesothelioma, however, would change.
In the fall of 2001, my father-in-law started to notice discomfort in his armpit area on the left side. A doctor diagnosed him with “pleurisy,” which is an inflammation of the lung tissue. In spite of swift treatment, the pain continued to worsen. Soon, he began to experience shortness of breath and returned to the doctor. After more testing, including a chest x-ray, a CT scan, and a needle biopsy that came back negative, the doctors still could not determine why my father's condition was deteriorating. He was referred to the cancer center for a surgical biopsy. In February of 2002, we received the crushing news: my father had mesothelioma.
At first, our family was in denial. But once we began putting the pieces of the puzzle together, we understood that his condition was caused by exposure to asbestos during a lifetime of work in the mill. Dad began to get depressed, and it became difficult for him to go through treatment. Since mesothelioma has no cure, we all knew that the treatment was simply aimed at extending his life as much as possible.
My father-in-law was a fighter, a man amongst men. As the days, weeks and months passed, we saw mesothelioma steal that away from him bit-by-bit. He began to lose weight quickly, and jaundice set in along with dark bags underneath his eyes. Each day, he began to get weaker as mesothelioma destroyed his body from the inside out.
In late 2003, Dad began to need constant supervision and could not be left alone due to his state of mind. We took turns caring for him and offering comfort. Mesothelioma took its toll on each one of us as well.
Down to just 130 pounds, my father began to cough up blood as the pain continued to worsen. Every inch of his body hurt, and he lost the ability to walk and was confined to using a wheelchair. Hospice care started just a month later, and Dad became bedridden. In spite of vast amounts of pain medication, my father-in-law couldn't move because the pain was too great. Hallucinations and seizures started, and he passed away two days later in February of 2004.
Mesothelioma destroys the body quickly, without remorse and without hope. I experienced the devastation of mesothelioma firsthand, and it is this experience that gives me the passion and drive to fight for the victims of mesothelioma and their families.
I approach each case with an understanding and appreciation of what it is like to face the trials and complications of mesothelioma. I also understand the questions that people going through the process of a mesothelioma diagnosis face. It is this degree of compassion that makes my legal representation unique.
- Michael Throneberry, Attorney-at-Law