Monday, December 29, 2014

Merry Christmas and turning the corner!

It has been a couple of weeks since my last blog due to being very unwell.  However ... I am turning the corner and feeling better/stronger each day!

3 weeks ago I had chemotherapy and a 5 hr blood transfusion due to being very anaemic and very low red blood cells.  Last week I became extremely weak upon any exertion including getting out of bed, chest tight and pains .... thank goodness for park benches to lie down on!  A phone call to my oncologist and an urgent Christmas eve appointment with blood test confirmed that I was very anaemic and low red blood cells - both more depleted than 3 weeks ago - so a blood transfusion followed immediately for 5 hours.  The good side of it was that I was home for Christmas!

Christmas day phone calls from my 2 daughters/grandkids while lying on the sofa outside for a few hours to regain my strength .... then off to family for a wonderful Christmas get-together lunch/present opening/good cheer and beautiful dinner with family.  I was thoroughly spoilt - and this year did not lift a finger to help - was just waited on - so thank you to family - it was very special.  Reminds me of when I was growing up and our beautiful family Christmas get-togethers that I continued when my kids were growing up.  A very special time when all family including grandparents/aunts/uncles etc come together and those who are on their own.

The previous Saturday we had driven to Bendigo - an hour north of here to my brother and SIL place for my side Xmas luncheon - very pleasant sitting under the shade of their beautiful pergola covered with grape vines.

Today is overcast and cloudy however the sun is trying to shine .... 20 degrees C expected.  Birds are singing and eating from the bird feeder - parrots/ravens/cockatoos/blue wrens/kookaburras .....
Charlie is on my lap - his double bell seems to have put a stop to his bunny collection!

Thank you to all my dear friends/mesowarriors globally - for your Christmas/New Year greetings/gifts/cards.

I know Christmas is a very hard time for some folks - my heart goes out to you and hugs coming your way.

For those doing it tough at the moment - I am sending you a rainbow of love, hope and strength.

Nice pic Paul ...

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Fighting the mesothelioma beast! ADFA (Asbestos Diseases Foundation Australia) slams Channel 9’s The Block putting home renovators at risk of asbestos exposure with reckless ads.

It has been a few weeks since my last posting.  In that time I have been in a pretty dark place with my body/immune system.  Chemotherapy 12 days ago, 5 hour blood transfusion due to being very anaemic and extremely low red blood cells.  As a result my breathing has been restricted with chest tightening upon little exertion including light walking (thank goodness for park benches lol to lie down on and rest a few minutes)!

We are enjoying a few days in beautiful warm and sunny Tasmania by the beach to regain my strength and energy to fight this mesothelioma beast once again!  I WILL NEVER GIVE UP!!  Lying on the bed listening to the gentle and rolling sound of the waves, light meditation and looking out to sea and the lighthouse in the distance across at Lowhead - very tranquil and peaceful - perfect medicine for me to regain the fight!

This year we have lost so many beautiful and brave mesothelioma warriors thanks to deadly asbestos greed.  I had become friends with these warriors and their families.  Totally senseless deaths.  We need to keep uniting on a global front to eradicate all asbestos worldwide.  In unity we are strong!

My heart goes out to many warriors who are doing it tough at the moment - treatment, scans etc.

Christmas and holidays for many are just around the corner - cherish your family and friends, without them we are empty in our hearts.
Channel 9 putting home renovators at risk of deadly asbestos exposure with reckless ads for The Block
Asbestos advocates have slammed a Channel 9 promotion for the new series of The Block, saying its dangerous disregard for safety could lead to home renovators suffering from deadly asbestos diseases due to dust exposure.
The Asbestos Diseases Foundation of Australia urged management from the network to immediately pull the advertisements from the airwaves.
The video, promoting the 2015 series of The Block which is currently in production in Melbourne, features contestants using jackhammers, angle grinders, saws, sledge hammers and drills to tear through three units — covering themselves and occupants in clouds of dust.
ADFA president Barry Robson said not one person in the video was wearing any form of breathing protection, with contestants breaking through areas of older homes likely to be riddled with asbestos.
“Any house or unit built before 1987 has a good chance of containing asbestos, whether it was built from brick, weatherboard, or fibro,” Mr Robson said.
“People falsely think asbestos is only found in fibro sheets, but it can be found under floor coverings, behind tiles, in cement floors, around hot water pipers, in walls, ceilings, insulation products and fire protection.
“In their advertisement, The Block shows contestants smashing through many of these high-risk areas, in properties of an era where asbestos is likely to be present, all without any safety precautions being in place.”
Mr Robson said he was horrified by the commercial and feared it could lead to countless home renovators exposing themselves to deadly asbestos due to unsafe work practices.
“I was left absolutely speechless, with contestants shown falling through a ceiling, bringing clouds of dust and debris onto unsuspecting home owners, as power tools are shown tearing through the units,” he said.
“This is what happens when TV producers and advertisers, with no understanding of the very real dangers of asbestos, put the promotion of their product above the safety of their viewers.
“These ads need to be taken off the air immediately, The Block needs to ensure their units are asbestos free and viewers must be warned of the very real dangers posed to home renovators.
“Every year about 1,000 Australians die from asbestos diseases, with people exposed during home renovations the fastest growing group, which is why this behaviour is so dangerous.”
Lou's comment:  Absolutely appalling and total ignorance of the deadly dangers of all asbestos!  Putting innocent lives at risk both on television and the home renovators who will look at this video and think if they can do it then so can I - What is the big deal about 'asbestos' - something has to kill me one day!  These idiots forget they are not invisible and are exposing their family and friends to deadly asbestos fibres every time they endanger their own lives by going gungho and removing asbestos from their homes.  By simply releasing invisible fibres into the air they are exposing everyone.  As these fibres can stay dormant in your body for 20 to 40 years before deadly mesothelioma presents itself many people are of the attitude that asbestos awareness is over-rated!  Let me tell these idiots it is not!  I would not wish mesothelioma cancer on anyone - it is a painful and aggressive cancer that will literally take your breath away!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Australia's 1st International Conference on Asbestos Awareness & Management 16 to 18 Nov 2014

ASEA (Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency) hosted Australia's inaugural international landmark Conference on Asbestos Awareness & Management at Crown Convention Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 16 to 18 November 2014.  A fabulous conference bringing delegates on a global scale together in unity.  There were over 260 delegates from five countries who attended the conference.

Keith (my husband) and myself were very proud and honoured to attend this conference for the 3 days.  Sunday 16 November 6pm  to 10.30pm a welcome reception where Geoff Fary (Chairman ASEA) welcomed everyone and also with a great speech outlined how the conference would proceed on 17 and 18 November.  It was a very informal reception where guests mingled and enjoyed getting to know each other and rekindle old and new friendships.

Day 1 - Monday 17 November 2014
Matt Peacock was the facilitator for the conference and did a great job of introducing all the speakers.

Peter Tighe presented the opening address.
 (Peter is the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency CEO)

He introduced me as a victim of asbestos and a video was played in the background.
Lou Williams giving a very moving video address at the 1st International Conference on Asbestos Awareness & Management in Melbourne. Lou's father died from mesothelioma and Lou is fighting the disease. Peter Tighe noted that Australia's mesothelioma death rates are on par with our national road toll. We don't talk about it!
Lou Williams giving a very moving video address at the 1st International Conference on Asbestos Awareness & Management in Melbourne. Lou's father died from mesothelioma and Lou is fighting the disease. Peter Tighe notes that Australia's mesothelioma death rates are on par with our national road toll. We don't talk about it.
(the above link is to the video)

James Wunsch, Benchmark Australian Survey on Asbestos Awareness presented as a lead researcher for Colmar Brunton.

11:15am - 12:45pm International Keynote speaker Dr Richard Lemen, Assistant US Surgeon General (retired) spoke on Asbestos and Public Health: A US Perspective followed by a panel discussion.

Day 1 afternoon conference was divided up into 4 concurrent sessions.
1:45pm to 3:00pm Linda Reinstein, President/CEO and Co-founder, Asbestos Disease Awareness Organisation (ADAO) spoke of The Importance of building and sustaining stragegic global and domestic partnerships.  Followed by a panel session with Paul Bastian and Kate Lee (Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA).

(In the other sessions the topics were Litigation trends in Asbestos related diseases, Case study Mr Fluffy with Brianna Heseltine and Removal & Disposal).

3.30pm - 4.45pm Campaigning for Justice: On the Asbestos Frontline 2014 with Laurie Kazan-Allen, Co-ordinator, International Ban Asbestos Secretariat.

6.30pm to late - the Conference Gala Dinner venue: Palladium at Crown Convention Centre, Melbourne.
We were sitting on the main table with Peter Tighe, MC Max Walker, Kevin Sheedy (guest speaker) and Trevor Gillmeister - Taking an Axe to Asbestos: Walk for Awareness who lost his dad to mesothelioma and decided to do a walk to raise money for awareness.  Trevor presented a video that was great to watch and spoke about his amazing walk with Max Walker.

A wonderful night of relaxing, enjoying the varied speakers and good food/music.  A night that I wanted never to finish!  However by 10pm I was exhausted and went back to my room .... however Keith decided to stay on until about 12.30am and enjoyed the night catching up with everyone.

Day 2
International speaker Prof Ken Takahashi, Professor of Environment Epidemiology, Director of WHO Collaborating Centre, Japan presented Epidemiology and trends in asbestos related diseases.

11:00 to 12:15pm 4 concurrent sessions
Case study in  best practise - Ergon Energy
The need for Quality training
Disease prevention and current treatments of ARDs
Managing the DIY and domestic environment

1:15pm Performance by Victoria Trade Union Choir

1:30pm - 2:30pm Panel discussion and open forum Creating the environment for change

The conference ended at 5pm with a panel discussion
Where to from here? What can be done domestically and internationally - developing the communique.  Followed by summary and conference close.
The first International Conference on Asbestos Awareness and Management has recognised the ACT government's decision to demolish all Mr Fluffy homes as the only viable option to eradicate the deadly risks posed by loose fill asbestos.
The conference issued a strongly-worded communique on Wednesday morning following the two-day Melbourne event, which drew government officials, international and Australian asbestos medical experts, health care professionals, community groups, victim support groups, industry bodies and unions.
The communique stated "it is the consensus of all delegates that all forms of asbestos fibres kill and the only solution is to eliminate the sources. There is no known safe level of exposure to asbestos. This conference finds no scientific evidence to support the concept of controlled use advocated by some in the asbestos producing industry."
"Controlled use" is a method argued for by international asbestos exporters in Russia, China, Canada and other countries to justify their sale of the deadly carcinogen to developing countries like India.
Having heard evidence from Mr Fluffy homeowners and ACT government representatives on the presence of amosite asbestos insulation in more than 1000 Canberra homes - with between 50 and 60 per cent having fibres detected in living areas - the ACT government was described as a world leader on safe practice for its October 28 decision to spend $1 billion demolishing these homes.
An advertisement by Dirk Jansen, aka Mr Fluffy, placed in The Canberra Times in 1968. An advertisement by Dirk Jansen, aka Mr Fluffy, placed in The Canberra Times in 1968. Photo: Canberra Times

Recognising examples in other countries where government action was forced through litigation on asbestos disease, conference delegates endorsed action by the ACT government to end the risk to the community, potentially heading off years of protracted legal arguments.
Conference delegates also lent support to a uniform national response.
"The Australian Capital Territory government's response to demolish Mr Fluffy homes is acknowledged as the only enduring solution to the ongoing risk posed by loose fill asbestos insulation and the conference commends this approach to other governments," they said.
Federal Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency head Peter Tighe said the clear implication was the NSW government needed to identify and demolish an estimated 60 Mr Fluffy homes across the border in NSW.
"I believe they don't have any other option," Mr Tighe said.
He noted the situation in NSW was even more pressing than the ACT, as homes had never been remediated and still contained full quantities of Mr Fluffy amosite.
In 1999, the Commonwealth spent $100 million cleaning the roof cavities of more than 1000 Canberra homes. But in February the ACT government conceded ACT residents still faced the risk of remnant fibres migrating into their living spaces and it wrote to homeowners warning them of this fact.
NSW was not included in the remediation program and the NSW Government called an inquiry in August into Loose Fill Asbestos Insulation, chaired by the Reverend Fred Nile.
The committee conducted a public hearing in Queanbeyan on Monday but is not due to report to government until February.

Lou's comment - a fabulous and very informative conference bringing asbestos expertise to the forefront in Australia on a global scale.  Thank you ASEA for having the initiative to host this conference and put Australia on the worldwide map.  We are leading in so many ways the asbestos fight and with helping our Asian neighbours to ban asbestos in the future through training and workshops/consultation etc we will ensure that our knowledge is not in vain!  I look forward to the next conference!