Surviving with mesothelioma in 2020

Each year the US charity publishes its list of the twenty most inspiring blogs about asbetsos and mesothelioma. Alongside blog posts from 2020 about promising new treatments and hidden dangers from asbestos was the story of one man who survivied with mesothelioma for three years until his death in May. He was interviewed for the blog in March.

John Stathas was a Roman Catholic priest until he resigned his vocation because he could no longer believe some of the things he was called upon to preach. He also wanted to get married and start a family. He and hs wife of 42 years had two children and four grandchildren. He became a realtionship councellor and was still working part-time until this year.

In the blog post he said, “I was always in good shape, but my breathing just got difficult, and obviously something was wrong. The diagnosis was heartbreaking for my family, but I’ve been luckier than most, living such a non-deterred life. The hardest thing for me now, quite frankly, is seeing the pain in the eyes of my family.

I’ve had an awesome life

“At this stage, I’m ready to die, and I have no fear of it. I’m ready for the inevitable. I’ve had an awesome life and an incredible family and I’m grateful for that,” he said. “If I can be a role model for them, and for others around me, I will gladly take it to the end.

It’s not what you’re doing, it’s what you leave behind

“I get moments of sadness, but I don’t get depressed or anxious about all this. All things considered, I’m in a really good place… It’s why I can be so grateful…

“I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the world. I’m a ’60s idealist with passion and a purpose…,” Mr Stathis said. But he has come to realise, “It’s not always what you’re doing. It’s what you leave behind.”

You can read the whole blog post here.

Photograph © Neil Bishop 2020