Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Guest Post: Moms and Mesothelioma
This guest post is from cancer survivor, Heather Von St. James. She shares her story about being diagnosed with deadly Mesthelioma, just three months after giving birth to her daughter, in hopes of encouraging other moms who may be facing the same diagnosis. If you are in need of support, or know someone who is, please visit The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.
Rose Colored Glasses by Heather Von St. James
I’ve always been accused of wearing rose colored glasses, seeing the glass as half full; an optimist, and never has that trait served me better than when I was diagnosed with a deadly cancer at the age of 36, just 3 1/2 months after the birth of my one and only child.
I got my cancer diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma on Nov 21, 2005.. no one ever expects a diagnosis like that, much less during what is supposed to be the most joyous time of your life.. but there I was.. hearing those three words.. You Have Cancer. I had a choice.. to give up, curse God and wallow in self pity and cry out “WHY ME GOD!!? Or face this diagnosis head on.. and that is what I did. I put on those rose colored glasses and did what any new mom would do.. fight for her life to raise her little girl.
Cancer is a true double-edged sword, most people you talk to who have gone through it will say the same thing. It is all at once the worst thing that can happen, but in another aspect.. Its a good thing. My life is forever changed for the better because of it. It may be because I chose not to be the victim. I chose to make light of a dreadful situation, so the fear would be taken away, maybe because I vowed that I wanted to help others who where diagnosed with it as well, to give hope when that is the one thing people lose first when getting a mesothelioma diagnosis.. Whatever the case may be.. I chose to find the good.. I was referred to the worlds leading specialist in the disease, who was able to give ME hope that I could beat this thing.. I nicknamed my tumor Punxatawny Phil upon learning I was to have surgery to remove the tumor on Groundhogs Day, 2006. We renamed Groundhogs Day, Lungleavin Day, since it was the day my lung left, and every year on the first weekend of February, we have a party to celebrate Lungleavin Day.. its a celebration of life.. of conquering fear.. of seeing the good that comes from an otherwise bad situation. It is a celebration of hope.
I would not know so many of the wonderful people I know had it not been for this cancer diagnosis. Amazing people. The strongest, most passionate and tough people I’ve ever met, other mesothelioma warriors, people who are committed to bringing about awareness to a disease that has very little other than a commercial on daytime TV . Wives, husbands, sons, and daughters... all people who in some way have been affected by mesothelioma, I now call friend. I would not know any of them if not for my own cancer battle. My life has much more purpose to it now, it seems to me and I want to continue to do what I do to give hope to those who need it.
Heather Von St. James is a guest blogger for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. You can read all five parts of her in-depth story here. You will also find the Mesothelioma link on my Blogroll (tab above), and "Links" sidebar.
*If you are interested in submitting a guest post at Sacred Mommyhood, please contact me via the contact tab above.