Ivor nurse pens book on mesothelioma

Published 11:36 am Saturday, June 2, 2012

Linda and Lannie Chitwood at their home in Ivor. Linda Chitwood recently wrote a book about mesothelioma after her husband got the aggressive cancer. -- MERLE MONAHAN/Tidewater News

By Merle Monahan/Contributing Write

IVOR—After the initial shock of learning that her husband, Lannie, had mesothelioma, Linda Chitwood began searching for information on the illness.

A registered nurse, she wanted to learn as much as she could about the aggressive cancer that affects the membrane lining of the lungs and abdomen.

“I looked on the Internet and scoured every bookstore from Norfolk to Richmond,” she said. “I found some information online, but to my amazement, there wasn’t a single book on mesothelioma to be found.”

So Chitwood wrote a book.

“Fear 2 Faith,” a day-by-day record of the couple’s journey through mesothelioma, was recently released.

Chitwood began preparing for the book by keeping a journal of notes — from the diagnosis to hospitalization and treatment and finally her husband’s recuperation at home.

She said a book like this would have helped her so much, and her hope is to help others facing the same illness.

Through it all, Chitwood gives credit to her friends and church for their thoughtfulness, kindness and prayers.

“I don’t know how we would have survived without their help,” she said. “When the diagnosis is first made there is the fear, but hopefully, there will be faith that things will be all right. Faith is what helped my family.”

There were many things to consider, like choosing the right doctor, the right hospital and other decisions.

“It is mind-boggling,” Chitwood said.

The assistant professor of nursing at Paul D. Camp Community College said her husband, a retired game warden, was healthy until he got a cold.

“It developed into a chest cold that wouldn’t go away, so he saw a doctor,” Linda Chitwood said. “Tests confirmed he had mesothelioma. I felt lost and alone, even though our son, Mark, and daughter, Alison, were just a phone call away,” she said. “I am a nurse, but still it was devastating.”

“Together the family made the decisions,” Chitwood added.

Dr. David Harpole performed surgery on Lannie Chitwood on Jan. 10, 2008, at Duke University Medical Center.

“Lannie’s right lung, the lining around the lung and heart, and a rib were removed,” Linda Chitwood said.

The recovery, which included radiation and chemotherapy, was long and hard, but gradually Lannie Chitwood made progress. He regained his strength as he gained weight.

“Just being at home, I think, helped him recover,” she said. “This helped us, as well.”

The first-time author added a list of “dos” and “don’ts.”

“Even though they want to help, so many people just don’t know how. Just being yourself is the best way,” she said.

The book can be ordered at www.amazon.com, www.xlibris.com or www.barnesandnoble.com and is in area stores. It also may be obtained by calling 888-795-4274, ext. 7879.