Think positive! Yes, those 2 little simple words. Simple words they may be but a difficult thing to do when your pathology report just came back “peritoneal mesothelioma”.
Well let me introduce myself, I am a 64-year-old nurse who was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 2008. I had absolutely no clue what this meant, what organ was involved and what my prognosis would be. I should know something about this disease right? I’m a Registered Nurse for 40 years. Wrong. I knew nothing and after contacting many doctors at my hospital I still was in the dark. No cases ever treated or diagnosed at this hospital. “Be positive” I kept hearing from everyone. How do you be positive when you can’t even find information about a disease. Ok I’m trying to be positive. Yes, I am aware of all the positive outcomes if you remain positive. But it’s really hard!!!!
After doing much research I was able to find an oncologist in New York who was very knowledgeable about the disease. He referred me to a surgeon in New York who performed abdominal resection with heated chemotherapy. Actually I didn’t think the surgery was that difficult. I was out of the hospital in 6 days. Chemo via those abdominal ports did knock me down a few times but maintaining a positive attitude does really help. I know it is difficult to be positive when the chips are down but being negative definitely doesn’t help! So here I am 8 years later working in my same cardiac unit, rollerblading weekly, and teach BLS and ACLS classes. Did I get here without any set backs?? I would love to say no it was a walk in the park. BUT now I can hopefully help others by telling how I coped with the ups and downs of my diagnosis. Hopefully you will follow my journey with me.
About Julie Russell R.N.
Julie Russell is an experienced Registered Nurse who is also a mesothelioma cancer survivor. Julie’s clinical expertise in nursing is in the area of the Cardiac Intervention. She has also been an instructor of Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Basic Life Support (BLS) for many years. Her varied nursing background includes roles as a nursing supervisor, educator and staff nurse.
Diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma in 2008, Julie has undergone surgery, chemotherapy, and become an advocate for herself and others. A mesothelioma diagnosis effects the whole family. Her two sons became active in the mesothelioma community as well. She is a passionate advocate for all patients, but peritoneal mesothelioma is a personal cause of hers. She will be a guest blogger for us. Julie will be sharing her personal experiences with peritoneal mesothelioma as she continues to live and work a full life. Since diagnosis, Julie has also become a grandmother. We invite you to follow Julie’s journey and feel free to contact her for any questions or support.