Mesothelioma is known as a devastating disease that can progress quickly. Treatments for mesothelioma can be expensive because they are often highly specialized, and the financial burden can cause added stress to family and friends already devastated by a mesothelioma diagnosis. Yet, even in the face of these trials, some people still have hope.
Ellen was one of those people.
Ellen Patton was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma at 41 years old.
She had consistently been experiencing shortness of breath, but – chalking it up to stress and age – put off seeing a doctor. When she finally went, Ellen was absolutely blindsided by her mesothelioma diagnosis.
She had no idea she’d been exposed to asbestos growing up and that it could cause cancer decades later. Ellen’s exposure to asbestos came from multiple sources – her uncle’s occupational exposure, her father’s home improvement projects, and a number of other consumer products.
The doctor told Ellen she had 12 to 18 months to live. Because mesothelioma had invaded both of her lungs, she had minimal treatment options – surgery was too invasive and the side effects of chemotherapy could kill her. She opted for an alternative treatment: immune therapy. The alternative treatment was a huge financial burden and a great risk. The firm recovered a mesothelioma settlement on her behalf.* Ellen used that money to help her afford her treatments, which her health insurance wouldn’t cover.
Now a 14-year survivor, Ellen attends and presents at numerous Congressional meetings on behalf of mesothelioma victims throughout the world. “After outliving the 12 to 18 months prognosis I was given, I felt it was my duty to warn others of the dangers of asbestos,” Ellen said. “I needed to speak for those who had gone before me and could speak no more.”
She recently received the Alan Reinstein Award at the 2015 Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) Conference to honor her advocacy work to ban asbestos.
In 2013, she and her sister-in-law started a soap making business, Breathe Products, which donates 10 percent of its profits to ADAO. Ellen’s battle with mesothelioma and treatments had put her dream of becoming a business owner on hold, but now, free to fulfill that dream, she couldn’t be happier. “Learning to make soap and perfecting its quality was a kind of therapy for me,” Ellen said in an ADAO interview. “Then I had the benefit of giving it to friends and family, as well as using it myself.”
*Please note that recovery results vary as they are based on the unique facts of each client’s specific case.