Posts Tagged ‘Mesothelioma and Me’

In memory of Meso Warrior Debbie Brewer

9 Jun 2013 by under Events, People

Debbie Brewer april 2012 209x300 In memory of Meso Warrior Debbie BrewerI am so sad today to learn that Warrior Debbie Brewer, our friend in the U.K., has passed away. Debbie was a truly wonderful person with the biggest heart. She fought every day not just for herself, but for everyone with , everyone affected by asbestos disease. I will miss her so much.

That may seem strange to some, since I never had the chance to meet Debbie face to face, but I felt as if she was a friend. Debbie was the first person to allow us to share her story here on myMeso. She wrote her own blog, Mesothelioma & Me, talking not only about her fight for meso awareness and her physical battles with the disease, but sharing funny, sad, sometimes angry, and everyday stories about her life. She was an open book and welcomed friends with open arms.

Occasionally I had people email me who had read Debbie’s story here, and wondered if she might be willing for them to contact her to talk. Debbie was always willing.

Debbie traveled to the U.S. and worked with the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation), connecting with more people and spreading the message about the dangers of asbestos exposure and the desperate need for a cure.

She traveled to Germany to undergo a new experimental treatment, for a time taming the tumor she – with her trademark sense of humor – nicknamed Theo. Damn Theo. She spoke to members of Parliament, petitioning for relief for asbestos victims. She worked with the Mick Knighton Foundation, helping to raise funds for mesothelioma research and treatment.

I was happy that Debbie accepted my friend request on Facebook. She was a prolific poster, sharing stories and photos of her travels, her beautiful family and children, her shenanigans with friends, her wigs and hats, a new car. All the ups and downs were there. Oh, how I will miss seeing her signature “xx”.

Debbie, I know this post is rambling. Your passing seems so sudden, and the world is a much sadder place without you in it. I hope you are running and laughing and strong now. I know you are bringing joy with your tremendous spirit.

x


Debbie’s mesothelioma tumor shrinks!

23 Jun 2008 by under News

debbie and dr vogl 150x150 Debbies mesothelioma tumor shrinks!In April I shared a web site, Mesothelioma and Me, by UK resident Debbie Brewer, who was recently diagnosed with mesothelioma. The site is ’s personal journal about her experiences as she battles mesothelioma, as well as shares stories about her family and daily life.

Some of you who are following Debbie on her journal have already heard the good news – on June 20, she learned that her tumor (which she wittily nicknamed Theo) has shrunk by 10 percent after the first of three scheduled chemoembolization treatments. She had her first treatment May 20, and the second June 20, when she learned Theo had gotten smaller.

According to www.radiologyinfo.org, chemoembolization is a combination of chemotherapy and a procedure called embolization to treat cancer, most often of the liver. According to the web site, catheter embolization is the deliberate introduction of foreign (“embolic”) material such as gelatin sponge or metal coils to stop bleeding or cut off blood flowing to a tumor or arteriovenous malformation.

Debbie traveled to Frankfurt, Germany, to have the procedure, which is still a trial, done by Dr. Thomas J. Vogl, Chairman, Department of Radiology, Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology – University Hospital, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, University of Frankfurt am Main.

In this procedure, Dr. Vogl catheterizes the tumor and administers localized chemotherapy directly into the arteries feeding the tumor. Once the chemotherapy has been administered, other agents can be administered to block off the blood supply to the tumor.

Debbie’s description of the procedure is a little more colorful:

“A small incision will be made to expose the artery that feeds the tumour which is in the femour. A catheter is inserted and pushed up into the area affected. Embolization is a glue like substance which is put in to seal off the tumour and the chemo is then added and the whole area sealed off. The chemo is left to do its job. It is something like having a room with 2 doors, sealing off the back door and throwing in an explosive and sealing up the front door.”

One of the strangest things? The clinic where Debbie visits Dr. Vogl for these treatments is located on a street of the same name as her tumor’s nickname! Theodore Stern Kia 7. Visit Debbie’s blog to read all about her experiences with Dr. Vogl and this treatment. She even has photos of herself at the clinic.

Debbie points out that chemoembolization is not a cure for mesothelioma, but is thought to slow the growth of the tumor or reduce it, allowing the patient a longer life.

In conjunction with or following this treatment, Debbie will undergo a dendritic cell vaccine. According to the web site drugresearcher.com, dendritic cells – a part of the body’s immune system that detects foreign proteins in the body – can be used as vaccines by mixing them with genetic material from the patient’s tumour and infusing the treated cells back into the patient. The dendritic cells present the tumour antigens to the body’s white blood cells (T lymphocytes) for destruction.


Debbie in UK tackles Mesothelioma diagnosis

25 Apr 2008 by under People

 Debbie in UK tackles Mesothelioma diagnosisI recently came across a blog titled Mesothelioma and Me, written by a really neat woman in the United Kingdom, Brewer. The blog is a record of her thoughts, feelings and experiences since being diagnosed with mesothelioma in November 2006.

Like Charlene, who shared her story with us recently, Debbie is a young woman – only 49 years old. It is suspected that she contracted mesothelioma through contact with asbestos her father brought home on his clothing. She says he was a lagger with the Ministry of Defense and would often scrape asbestos from pipes.

Reading Debbie’s blog – she posts regular diary entries – is by turn heartbreaking and funny (she has named her tumor “Theo,” and tells him not to grow), and inspiring, and can make you really angry, along with her, as she rails against her illness and fights for awareness.

She mixes stories about her treatments with accounts of daily family life, vacations with her kids, changes at work, experiments with her diet, and her growing role as an advocate for mesothelioma in the UK.

Debbie’s site is a great way to learn about the real people behind mesothelioma. Visit and get to know her. I’m glad I did!