Editor’s Note: If you haven’t noticed, each Thursday we feature a new survivor story. We at mesothelioma blog applaud Janelle’s work and are happy to feature part of her story to help further awareness and dialogue. If you or someone you know has a mesothelioma story you’d like to share, please contact us.
Janelle Bedel is a loving wife and mother of an 11 year-old son yet felt ill one day early in 2007. Although she was in good health, she started experiencing bouts of excruciating back and rib cage pain as well as swelling in her lungs. Initially Janelle thought she had a chronic sinus infection due to a dry, constant cough and breathing problems. Concerned, she again visited the doctor who prescribed her antibiotics. After she discovered the antibiotics didn’t help, she searched online for a possible reason for her discomfort. Janelle eventually had a chest X-ray, which confirmed the reason for the pain she was feeling. She was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma in April 2007 and given 10 months to survive. She was 31 at the time.
There are many reasons surrounding how Janelle contracted mesothelioma even though there was no family history of this disease. Many experts point to the fact that her father worked as a fireman and somehow tracked asbestos fibers into the household. Others point to her two uncles who worked in factories built with asbestos materials. Nevertheless, she had to endure an extensive treatment plan for her pleural mesothelioma.
Janelle’s cancer-free living didn’t come without initial struggle for this pleural mesothelioma survivor. Imaging scans, chemotherapy and surgery to remove the infected lung were followed by radiation, long physical therapy sessions, nervous system failures and medication withdrawals. After countless doctor appointments with pain specialists and psychologists, she felt her identity returning and became an advocate for others.
Janelle’s goal in life is to help others survive mesothelioma by helping to spread awareness. She was a key figure during the International Symposium on malignant mesothelioma. Janelle relayed her story to a few high-ranking government officials concerning a motion to declare September 26 as a national Mesothelioma Awareness Day. She raised over $3000 for the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation. In addition, she has organized and participated in her own “Miles for Meso” race in Rushville, Indiana.