Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer. Only about 3,000 people are diagnosed with this disease in the US each year. But many more people are affected by mesothelioma. These mesothelioma families include wives, husbands, children, grandchildren, siblings, and friends of the mesothelioma patient. This serious form of cancer is a blow against not just one person but whole communities.
Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos, most commonly in the workplace. But not every mesothelioma patient was exposed at work. Many mesothelioma families have no way of knowing that mesothelioma might be part of their future.
The Strouse family of Seattle never imagined they would become one of the mesothelioma families. Susan Strouse spent her career doing office work, much of it as a manager for law firms. She was never in danger of asbestos exposure at her work. She had to look back much farther to find out why she and her husband Michael had joined the ranks of mesothelioma families.
Mesothelioma Families and Familial Work History
Susan’s father worked as a pipefitter during her childhood in California. He would answer calls to go out on jobs, then come back and spend time with his family.
Susan’s father didn’t realize that the asbestos he worked with clung to his clothing. He didn’t know that, by spending time with his daughter and filling his role as a loving father, he was exposing her to a toxic mineral that would give her cancer.
Susan didn’t know that she had inhaled asbestos particles from her father’s work clothing. She went to school, went to work, fell in love with Michael Strouse, got married, and had three children. She spent time with her children and grandchildren. She built her life in Seattle without any clue to the shadow that hung over her and her family. She couldn’t know that, one day, the Strouse clan would become another one of the many mesothelioma families.
After she found out she had mesothelioma, Susan would have to search back over many decades to find where she was exposed to asbestos. The roots of mesothelioma families are often in the distant past since this cancer takes so long to form after asbestos exposure. Sometimes, as in Susan’s case, the roots are in someone else’s career.
Susan Strouse Decides to Fight Back
Susan Strouse is nothing if not spunky. She’s a slender woman with long honey-colored hair, but she punches above her weight.
After she received a pleural mesothelioma diagnosis in July of 2012, Susan had surgery followed by a 30-day course of radiation. Though she did her best to keep her spirits up, the treatment took a toll on her body.
After her diagnosis, Susan knew she wanted to make the most of the rest of her life. When her doctor suggested she and Michael contact an attorney to find out if they could recover compensation for the pain of mesothelioma and the loss to this mesothelioma family, Susan said no at first. It took all her energy just to show up for her mesothelioma treatment. The thought of a protracted court battle was too much for her to think about just then.
But her doctor mentioned it again and she decided to fight back against the asbestos exposure that had caused her mesothelioma. She contacted the Seattle lawyer that the mesothelioma doctor recommended. When Susan and Michael met with that attorney, they were referred to Kazan Law, which is the sponsor of this blog.
Susan’s career made her both a savvy and cautious client. She wasn’t sure what she thought about a firm out of Oakland, California, representing her interests. She was impressed with the professionalism of Kazan’s attorneys and with the firm’s 40 years of experience in asbestos litigation, but she still wasn’t completely convinced.
Susan knew the value of lawsuits for mesothelioma families, so she wanted the best for her family. When Kazan Law partner Denise Abrams flew to Seattle and spent several hours going over all aspects of her case, Susan realized she would be in good hands with Kazan.
The beginning of each asbestos lawsuit is a research process. Kazan’s team of experienced lawyers and investigators dug through Susan’s life history, including her father’s work history, to find the names of the corporations responsible for her asbestos exposure.
In the end, Susan Strouse didn’t have to go through a lengthy trial. Her attorneys were able to negotiate a settlement that will help her mesothelioma family cope with the expense and strain of her mesothelioma diagnosis.
A Message for Other Mesothelioma Families
Susan Strouse had such a positive experience working with Kazan Law that she asked to record a testimonial for the firm. In it, she notes that, over the course of her case, her attorneys became part of her family. Susan wanted to express her gratitude for what the dedicated team at Kazan had done for her family and for so many other mesothelioma families over the past 40 years.
The fight against asbestos exposure and mesothelioma takes place on many fronts. Research to develop immunotherapy drugs and other targeted mesothelioma treatments offer a ray of hope where there wasn’t one before. Better construction and demolition practices help limit future cases of mesothelioma by reducing and preventing asbestos exposure.
And, in the courts, asbestos lawyers like the partners and associates at Kazan Law fight to hold corporations accountable for their negligent handling of asbestos. Without the surge in lawsuits in the 1970s that bankrupted some of the worst offenders, the public might not have known about the dangers of asbestos exposure, something corporations had long worked to keep hidden. Without the brave mesothelioma patients who come forward to tell their stories, we might not have the stronger regulations on asbestos use that are in place today in the US.
Every member of the mesothelioma community has a role to play in making sure that resources go to combatting and preventing this rare but invasive cancer. Mesothelioma families play an important role in shining a spotlight on the heartache of mesothelioma patients and the people who love them.
Happily, as of this writing, Susan Strouse is a mesothelioma survivor. She spends as much time as she can with her grandchildren and makes the most of every precious day. That’s a gift she has thanks in part to her asbestos lawsuit and her extended family at Kazan Law.