A former office worker is battling an incurable cancer caused by asbestos exposure at the age of just 51.
Lynne Jones, née Yarwood was diagnosed with mesothelioma last year, a condition she knew nothing about and had not even heard of before.
Caused by inhaling asbestos dust, which slowly attacks the lungs, it is usually seen in people much older as it typically takes 20 years or more before sufferers realise that something is wrong.
Lynne, from Stoneycroft, Liverpool, who was dealt the devastating blow just weeks after her 50th birthday, said in hindsight the symptoms first started more than a year before.
She initially put it down to her age, but eventually went to see her GP and last May finally found out the cause.
The former administration officer for the DHSS, now Jobcentre Plus, in Liverpool, retired on medical grounds earlier this year.
She said: “I was constantly tired and very breathless. I would struggle to walk up the stairs.
“At first I put it down to my age. I just thought I wasn’t as fit anymore.
“When I got my results with my partner, Martin, we were absolutely devastated. I remember saying to him in those first few weeks ‘what’s going to happen to me, how long will I be here?
“I have never asked the question ‘how long?’ because I don’t want to know. I try to stay strong and positive.”
Lynne, whose maiden name was Yarwood before marrying Martin last year, started a course of chemotherapy before discovering she was eligible for pleurectomy decortication surgery.
A major procedure to remove tumours and often the lining of the lung as well, it is not a cure, but can extend the life expectancy of patients in the early stages of mesothelioma.
Lynne, who underwent the surgery in August last year, said: “Not everyone is suitable, but I am young to have this condition and I’m very grateful for what I’ve had done.
“I do get angry, though. This disease has changed my life and someone should be accountable.
“I can’t do what I used to do. I still get breathless and tired which does upset me, but I am still here 12 months down the line and hope I will be here for many more.”
Lynne left school in 1982 and worked for the DHSS at the now demolished Princess Drive office before moving to Springfield House on Eaton Road.
She is now appealing for former workmates and friends she has lost touch with over the years in a bid to find out where she was unwittingly exposed.
Her lawyer, Louise Larkin, an industrial disease specialist from Slater and Gordon, said: “Asbestos was widely used in the building industry up until the 1970s, even though the risks were known for many years before.
“The damage is caused when materials containing asbestos are disturbed, thereby releasing dust or fibres into the air which are then inhaled or ingested.
“Lynne knows there is no cure, but would like to find out where she was exposed for her own peace of mind.”
Anyone who has relevant information can contact Louise on 0151 353 9931 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lynne can also be reached via the ‘Mesothelioma Information and Social Support’ Facebook page.