“Why did it choose me?” Rose couldn’t help asking after she was diagnosed with mesothelioma in September 2019.
Shortly before her 60th birthday, Rose received a letter from her GP recommending she attended a local walk-in mobile lung centre for screening due to her previous medical history. The results showed something had come up, so she arranged a biopsy once her birthday celebrations had passed. The results confirmed she had the asbestos-related cancer.
Choosing Irwin Mitchell
Rose’s lung cancer nurse told her she might have a legal case.
Rose says, “I was still in shock as it was only a couple of days after the diagnosis and I was getting all these things thrown at me that I could have, this is what I needed to do next, this is what’s going to happen.”
“I chose Irwin Mitchell because they could send a representative to my house. Nicola calmed me down. She made me feel comfortable, very at ease, no pressure. She talked me through everything, and she helped me understand my options and the best way forward.”
Since instructing us, we’ve supported Rose to come to terms with her diagnosis, access support, and secure funds for the treatment she needs now and in the future.
Exposed To Asbestos
Before finding out she had mesothelioma, Rose worked as an estate agent. She first thought she’d come in to contact with asbestos in houses because it was often highlighted on surveys that came back during the sales process.
Her diagnosis made her scared to go into houses and she had to give up the job she loved.
Investigations by our Workplace Illness team revealed that Rose would have also been exposed to asbestos as a high school pupil in Leeds.
Recalling lessons taking place in another school because of problems with her school building, Rose said, “I’m absolutely shocked that at such a young age I’ve been exposed to asbestos, not knowing that I’ve carried on all these years with this disease inside me.”
Rose was told her cancer was dormant and the medical experts didn’t want to disturb anything. After her diagnosis, she was put on “watch and wait”, which meant she had chest x-rays, CT scans and appointments with the oncologist every three months to monitor her.
Rose feels she’s been one of the lucky ones to avoid treatment for so long, but it’s been hard to cope with not knowing when her illness will develop.
After catching Covid-19, Rose had recurrent chest infections. She started coughing and experiencing pain in her lungs, which worried her. She couldn’t help thinking, “is this the start of it all?”
A chest x-ray in November 2022 showed everything was fine, but with her symptoms, Rose found it hard to accept. She pushed for a CT scan in December, which showed the cancer had grown.
Rose started immunotherapy treatment on 5 January 2023, which felt like a positive step, and the regular monitoring made her feel more confident. Her treatment’s been difficult, and she says she’s found it a struggle. Rose attends hospital more regularly now for long periods of time and there were some difficulties administering treatment. Despite this, Rose remains positive for the future.
A Strong Support Network
Rose hadn’t heard of mesothelioma before her diagnosis. She was put in touch with the support group Messy, who’ve become a network of lifelong friends.
Rose says, “It’s just been an amazing support that I’ve been given, to find a group of people going through what I’m having to go through. And because some of them are more advanced in what’s happening with them, it’s given me more confidence about myself, knowing it’s not as frightening as it can be.”
Simon Bolton, Mesothelioma UK Clinical Nurse Specialist for North and West Yorkshire facilitates the Messy group. He’s supported Rose following her diagnosis and says:
“Mesothelioma Support Yorkshire (MESSY) has always been a place where those affected by this asbestos-related cancer can come together. Although I facilitate the meetings and provide the professional knowledge, it's the sharing of experiences and peer support that always makes me feel incredibly proud to be part of it”.
We also referred Rose to our Client Support Manager Michaela Morris who’s offered emotional and practical support to help her come to terms with her diagnosis. She says, “Michaela’s supported me with what I’ve had to go through emotionally. She’s been absolutely brilliant every step of the way.”
What Does The Future Hold?
Rose is enjoying the chance to spend more time with her family. Her two daughters and three grandchildren keep her busy with grandma duties like picking the kids up from school. She also enjoys walking and she’s joined a gym.
Settling Rose’s claim means she can be comfortable financially, with the security to access the care and treatment she needs, when she needs it.
Rose says, “without Nicola’s support I think I’d have just given up, which I did say to her many times I’d like to. She was a fighter and told me to keep going, which we did. Her support has been tremendous.”
Rose’s Advice To Anyone Finding Out They Have Mesothelioma
“If you’ve just been diagnosed with mesothelioma, my advice to you is that while it feels like it’s a scary road, it feels like it’s the end of your life, it’s not at all. There’s a lot of help, advice and support available. There’s plenty of support groups on Facebook. You can read about anything and get the help you need at any time of the day.”
Nicola Handley, an associate solicitor who specialises in mesothelioma claims, supported Rose. She says, “Rose has had to make significant changes to her lifestyle and wakes up daily knowing that she has mesothelioma, watching and waiting for signs of this devastating disease to progress. She continues to remain positive with the support of her friends and family and the local mesothelioma support group.
I’m proud to have been able to support Rose on her legal journey by providing invaluable support through the litigation process, which was often challenging, by signposting her to charities and other healthcare professionals, and to successfully resolve her civil claim to ensure she has funds for future treatment when her disease progresses.
As I know Rose would agree, it’s important to seek advice from a specialist solicitor if you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma. You may need time to process your diagnosis before you can consider your occupational and environmental history in detail. Extensive research and investigations may also be needed before it’s possible to reach a conclusion about where you were exposed to asbestos.
A civil claim not only provides financial security but can also help provide care and support for your loved ones, future treatment, and the answers you may need.”
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, and you need support and guidance, please reach out to our caring and professional team.
Back to Client Stories