The Mesothelium Like Almost Everything Else In Your Life Is Generally Taken For Granted Unless Something Goes Wrong

Hi folks, welcome!

The mesothelium isn't exciting to look at, just a single layer of little cells, but it works magic beyond belief. From:

The mesothelium isn’t exciting to look at, just a single layer of little cells, but it works magic beyond belief. From:

I was fortunate to have a guest post by David Haas concerning the benefits of exercise for cancer patients. This post was motivated by David’s work with the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog. And this falls right into the FitOldDog baileywick, encouragement of people who wish to undertake safe exercise for better health to start with a study of body awareness. I would bet some money on the proposal that most people who develop cancer of the mesothelium don’t know what the mesothelium is or where to find it. I know about it because as a pathologist you learn that stuff, or I wouldn’t know either, but like most biological systems it’s magic. The mesothelium is a thin layer of cells that line your body cavities, allow your heart, lungs, intestines and other critical organs to slide around freely. This sliding around is essential for every heartbeat, breath, and abdominal gurgle. This remarkable layer of cells produces the slippery stuff that’s needed to permit these movements, and it does many other things too. Take a few moments to read about it one day. Its origins go back into the mists of time and animal evolution.

So, thanks again David for your work to improve the lot of people with this truly challenging disease, cancer of the mesothelium

-k @FitOldDog

Today’s workouts:

Workout PLAN: COACH Chris Hauth
move  Rest



  1. I was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma last June after about 6 weeks of not keeping food down. The better part of the summer was spent getting second opinions and making a plan to try Chemo. The drug recommended drug wasn’t part of the regular provincial coverage so I had to slow down my divorce action in order to retain medical insurance and have coverage for the $6,000 drug.
    While all that was transpiring I was also trying to plan my own approach to manage this inconvenience and had to draw on past experience. I have been a distance runner for years and have run across Canada (1994,7250k in 111days, 10hrs.,14min.) so thought about what I did to ready myself for that journey. At the time of my diagnosis, I was teaching spin class 3xs a week and was off running as after 30 yrs I was a little bored with it. I didnt have a running pal in my new area and so would walk for hrs but depended on spin for my cardio. Through the summer I was so fatigued and busy but felt a walking program had to be part of my new life style. I thought it would keep me strong for chemo which I was massively ambivalent about. I approached an acquaintance and we started out five days a week, grew it to six( 6k weekday and 10 on Sat.) and walk at a talk/sweat rate. We walked on my chemo days and she has had to listen to my griping about all my sensory nausea and anxiety attacks if so much as a hang nail hurts.( cancer must be growing) She is one of my new heroes.
    I have spent a lot of time in my head,settling it down and using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for one. I am doing meditation, which seems ironic as I seemed to have spent a lot of years trying to get so much into my head and now I am supposed to empty it?
    I am doing yoga 2x’s a week and just started back to weights, because what chemo does to muscle tissue warrents wearing long sleeves forever , ick.
    During the four months I messed with chemo I only walked as my hemoglobin was very low and my impersonation of Rip van Winkle stellar. The low energy is still a problem but we all faced days we didn’t want to work out but if we planned to meet a friend we got our sorry behinds there. I also sometimes get dressed in my running clothes first thing (yes that’s what I wear to walk, always hopeful) and that of course means you have to exercise as , if you put the garb on, you are commited. I am still working my twenty hour a week job as Co-ordinator of our local small hospice and if you didn’t know, you couldn’t tell I was ill,by looking. The chemo was stopped after five Rx’s as it was doing something but not enough to warrent continuing. I was given 6 months to a year and I am in month 9. I have a major hearing problem, loss, tinitus, etc. I also had sverve neuropathy in my index fingers which was brutal on our colder winter days, while out walking. I still fight sensory nausea but I am well and I am here.
    This is a mind body spirit experience and it requires daily maintence.

    • Hi JW,

      Boy! This is a lot to digest. I am amazed that you are so up beat after going through that lot, but I bet your running history toughened you up, or alternatively you were tough so you ran. My longest runs are marathons as part of Ironman races, so you have me there. My brush with near death caused me to live much more in the moment, but we soon forget when we feel better or normal. Do you think that the exercise helps you to stay positive and alive?

      I really appreciate you writing this story because this is what my blog is about, living in spite of everything. Hell, we have to have something to live for each day, and you certainly did a great job. I also live in running gear, and my fear is that the stent will break, but I guess I wouldn’t know too much about that.

      I guess it is all about living every moment to the full, and yes your mind-body spirit experience needs daily maintenance and considerable courage, which you seem to have in abundance.

      Thanks again, keep moving and loving life, it’s the only game in town.

      Kindest Regards,


  2. I believe running across Canada has prepared me for this latest challenge as the two journeys have so much in common. Like all challenges you’ve got to examine your options, draw in all your resources and take on the task, bouncing around a few times as you go. If you believe you’ll land on your feet, you’ll land on your feet. The somersaults in between could be seemingly catastrophic but the key word is seemingly, they never really are. Draw on past experience, when you were sure your world was going to end and hard as it may have gotten it didn’t end.

    I am not really courageous , I just have choices. I want my friends around me and they’d be on the run if I was always whining. I also don’t fight my cancer as the concept of conflict in my life would diminish my attitude. Instead I live with it, around it, and in spite of it.

    I was tuned into your blog some time ago as a I have a fast runner friend who has been living with AAA for I think 15 yrs. She then notified me of the blog on meso, and I am grateful.

    And when I get scared and I do I call on all the archangels abounding to come to me and soothe my fears. Works every time, maybe because it is a brief distraction or in my spirit beliefs they are there and help. I like that belief.
    Keep moving forward, jw

    • Hi jw,
      Thanks for the inspiring reply, and sorry for the delayed response. I became enmeshed in a software issue, and now I’m at triathlon camp trying to keep up with a bunch of people who are the same age as my kids.
      Facing fear is quite a challenge sometimes. You seem to have found a solid approach. It’s true that no one likes a whiner, and generally talking about serious health issues frightens people away. I find that with athletes and my AAA. They just don’t want to hear about it, so I try to refrain, even though it is on my mind. I am always scanning for risks to my stent, but I don’t need to say so. Your comments provide great advice and guidance on the fear issue, which are very much appreciated.

  3. Kathryn Freeman says

    “I am not really courageous , I just have choices. I also don’t fight my cancer as the concept of conflict in my life would diminish my attitude. Instead I live with it, around it, and in spite of it.”

    This is a great quote!!! It’s a perfect example of how my husband is living with his mesothelioma. He does what he can on the days he feels good and rests when he needs to. He has peritoneal mesothelioma. and finished 6 cylcles of Cisplatin last year. He is not a candidate for surgery as he is too advanced.

    Thank you for sharing your story

    • Hi Kathryn,
      I must admit that I was pretty impressed by the message from Jo. I have learned that we each live our lives one day at a time, and I try to just live each one to the full. My situation is less risky now that the stent is working, but it sounds as though your husband has his hands full with just surviving right now. Mesothelioma is a pretty mean neoplasm, but I suspect that some progress has been made with therapy.
      It sounds as though he is lucky to have you helping him, and I hope that all goes well. As a pathologist, I have seen cancer in many forms, and it always struck me as a battle between the life of the host and the life of the tumor, and it is a battle that can be lost and won on the basis of the oddest things.
      I wish your husband well with his battle, and you also, as the support crew sometimes needs support too, so I hope you are getting that from family and friends.
      Best wishes,
      Kevin aka FitOldDog

      • Kathryn Freeman says

        Hi Kevin
        I’m glad to hear your stent is working well for you! It is really good to read positive stories about people with mesothelioma. I too have just finished cancer treatment and am looking to start getting healthy again. The main barrier is the fatique, but it’s slowly getting better.
        I am very fortunate to have the most amazing family and friends, who have helped me through my journey as well as my husbands.
        Take care,

  4. Marlene Etherington says

    Hi, all. I am Jo Wells cousin. I am sorry to say that she passed away on June 27th. I am grateful to have found this blog and will pass it on to her family and friends. Thanks so much for your support. I believe her stamina and inner strength from running helped her with this battle, and many before that. Thanks so much for this site.

  5. Colleen Downey says

    Hello Kevin and Kathyrn,
    I am Jo’s sister and was alerted toyour blog by our cousin who may have already posted here to let you know that Jo passed away on June 27th. She fought an amazing battle and was tough and courageous right to the end – such a strong woman, physically and mentally. Kathryn, I hope your husband, yourself and family are doing well and fighting the good fight as well. All the best to you both and to you Kevin. God Bless.

    • Hi Kathryn and Marlene (and Jo), I was saddened to receive these two comments, and I’ll respond as best I can today. I’ve also lost some loved ones, both young and not so young, which I guess is in the nature of living, and the longer you live the more you have to process such events. I’ll write about it today. Thanks so much for letting me know. It is very much appreciated. Kind Regards, Kevin

    • Hi Colleen, I was going to write a brief blog about Jo and what I knew of her and her courage, but I know so little. Are you interested in writing a post, with some photos if you want, to honor her memory, and continue the work of my blog to encourage people to get on with their lives whatever comes along. It’s your call, but I think that you would know best. If you want to do this, just send a narrative, with photos if you want, and I’ll prepare the post, send you a draft for review, and publish it with you as the invited author. Just let me know what you would prefer. Kindest regards, kevin.

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.