Global Asbestos Congress 2004

Malignant Peritoneal Mesothelioma: My Experience Nursing My Father

Mie Saito
Japan Association of Mesothelioma and Asbestos Related-Diseases Victims and Their Families, Japan

"I am sure I will recover, so, please cheer up. This will encourage me."

My father felt lonely when he was in the hospital. He sent this kind of e-mail to us almost everyday. But we couldn't enjoy reading his e-mails because we already knew that his recovery was hopeless.

We brought my father home from the hospital to spend his last days with us. He was very calm and we were able to have peaceful conversations, unlike when he was in the hospital. I hoped that this kind of situation would continue forever.

One day, he looked different from his usual self and had severe stomach ache in the evening. I gave him painkillers and gathered my family and relatives. When his pain was relieved, my sister and I asked my parents to tell us their stories.

"Where did you meet first?"

"Which places did you go on dates?"

"How did you feel when we were born?" and so on.

My father smiled happily when my sister thanked him for bringing her into this world. We had a blissful time remembering our happy life in the past. When my father breathed with difficulty, we touched his hands and legs gently saying "Daddy, thank you very much" again and again. I prayed that we would remain as a family eternally.

I remember that time as a peaceful moment rather than a sad one.. I think my father will forgive us for not telling him the truth about his condition for a long time, because he was able to spend his last days at home with us.

Our days of struggle against disease suddenly started when my father was diagnosed with abdominal dropsy. In the beginning, terms like "asbestos" and "mesothelioma" totally confused us, but as we worked together to support my father, I came to realize that we were a great family. And that it was of course thanks to my father that we were able to build this family.

We will never accept the use of asbestos, which stole my father from us, and we will continue our activities so that there are no more asbestos victims like my father. My father and my family's struggle for a better society has just started.