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Mesothelioma Lawyer - Article - 'Love Cannot Just Stop'

Posted on Feb 11, 2006 | The Oakland Press

'Love Cannot Just Stop'

Web-posted Feb 11, 2006


Of The Oakland Press

BLOOMFIELD HILLS - Mirella Panozzo vividly recalls the last few years of her husband's life.

She remembers sadly how Carl's 6-foot, 175-pound frame dwindled to just skin and bones and how cancer took his right lung and left him in excruciating pain just before his death Aug. 25, 2003. He died at age 62, three years after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma.

But the Bloomfield Hills woman says one thing never changed, even after his death.

"Love cannot just stop," she says.

"I remember, at the very beginning, someone told us there are many cases when cancer hits someone in the family - a husband or wife - there's a divorce because it's too much and one of them can't take it. With us, it was different.

"We got closer."

So, to honor her husband of 25 years this Valentine's Day, she's trying to make the public more aware of the cancer that claimed his life.

She said she's trying to raise money for mesothelioma research "and doesn't want people to be sad" about the suffering and loss of her husband.

"The sickness is what it is," she said.

Panozzo, mother of two adult sons, said she's also trying to inform the public that mesothelioma is caused by breathing in asbestos. She especially fears for the health of first responders after the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City who might face the same deadly fate as her husband.

"The government needs to focus on finding treatments and cures for mesothelioma," said Panozzo, whose husband worked at General Motors Corp.

"There are thousands and thousands of people we need to think about" in regard to getting the fatal illness, said Panozzo. "I want the government to recognize that.

"On Sept. 11, there was asbestos from those buildings in the air. Thousands were breathing that. Doctors need to hurry up and find a cure because many, many might die."

Panozzo said her husband worked as a carpenter at the Warren Tech Center and also at a GM facility in Framington , Mass.

She wants people to give on Valentine's Day, and not just to their sweethearts.

"I want people to have hope that this disease can be cured," she said. "Open your heart this Valentine's Day and donate" to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation in Santa Barbara, Calif., so researchers can find treatments and a possible cure for the disease.

"There is hope," she said. "If you don't have hope, you die before you die.

"My husband had faith and hope in God until the last month. When the pain is so strong, you only want something that makes you not feel the pain."

She witnessed her husband's agony in his final days as pain-killing medication lost its effectiveness.

She also noted the cost of being seriously ill.

"If you don't have good insurance, you're talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars" in medical bills.

When her husband was diagnosed, she said the doctor told them "to go home and enjoy life until you die."

Now, she said, they're finding out there is hope. She said a drug, Alimta, gave her husband a few extra months.

"Those were pretty good times," she said.

Panozzo remembers the day in August 2003 when there was a power outage and the machine that helped provide Carl with oxygen quit working.

"I called the Karmanos Center to get help," she said, "but it was impossible (for them) to do anything because they had so many others to help.

"On very short notice, however, all the neighbors came down to our home. One had a generator and brought it here. We needed gasoline to run it. Then my son said, 'Mom, Mom, look out the window' and all the neighbors were walking toward our house with gallons of gasoline so my husband could breathe.

"I will never forget that. So now, I'm trying to get people to donate for research so this deadly disease will be cured."

If you want to help

To help find a cure, donate to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, 3944 State St., Suite 340 , Santa Barbara , Calif. http://www.theoaklandpress.com/stories/021106/loc_2006021104.shtml, 93105

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