Today I am honored to introduce you to Heather Von St. James. She contacted me after reading about Susan.
After reviewing her blog, I think you will find her story as inspirational as I did. In Heather’s words:
“The reason I have reached out to you is because of your blog! I myself am a mother to a quirky little 6-½ year old, Lily. She is my only child, and my whole world. When Lily was just 31/2 months old, I was diagnosed with Mesothelioma; a type of cancer that kills 90-95% of those who have it. As I’m sure you can imagine, the first thing that came to mind when I was diagnosed was my baby girl and how I wasn’t going to be able to watch her grow up.
“After all that, I’m still here 6 1/2 years later and cancer free! I’d like to turn my pain into purpose and become someone that other people can look to for guidance, inspiration, and hope in situations like my own. I contacted you because I feel that your blog would be an excellent place for me to share my story. Would you accept a guest post from me?”
Please welcome, Heather!
“You have cancer” is simply not the words any young mother expects to hear. My life had been filled with pure joy since the birth of my precious daughter less than four months before. There was no way that I was going to accept my diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma as a death sentence. I had too much to live for, and as someone who was often accused of seeing the world through rose colored glasses, I was not about to let my optimistic guard down now.
November 21, 2005 was the day my life literally changed forever. I felt numb at first but as the reality sunk in I thought okay, this is exactly why I am a person with a positive outlook. Instead of feeling self-pity and questioning God, I decided to wage battle on my disease. I saw my glass as half full, put on my rose-colored glasses, and I chose to fight for my life and for the chance to raise my little girl.
At the age of 36, I was referred to one of the world’s leading mesothelioma doctors, and I found the ray of hope I needed to help fuel my optimism. My surgery was scheduled for February 2, 2006. In honor of the day I named my tumor “Punxsutawney Phil” and in my home, Groundhogs Day would forevermore be known as “Lungleavin’ Day.” Each year over the first weekend in February, my family has a party to celebrate my life and my unwavering hope and courage in the face of an extremely scary situation.
Many cancer survivors believe that though it is the most awful situation they have ever faced, there is actually also an advantage to the fight. My life changed forever because I decided early on not to be a victim. I worked through my initial fears, made up my mind to persevere, and live my life with hope. I vowed to continue so that one day I could offer that same hope to others who received that dreadful mesothelioma diagnosis.
My life did change but definitely for the better. Some amazing people are now part of my life because of cancer. I have met some of the strongest, most courageous, and most passionate people. They are my friends, and like me they are committed to creating awareness about mesothelioma. If it were not for my own battle, I would not know these wonderful people. There is a new rewarding purpose to my life and it is all about sharing hope with those who need it most.
- Mesothelioma is Among The Most Typical Asbestos Most Cancers (socyberty.com)
- Facts Concerning Mesothelioma (socyberty.com)
- Asbestos Exposure During Military Service and Pleural Mesothelioma (vfwlady.com)
- Free Fight Mesothelioma Wristbands (kathleensblogspot.com)
- Guest Post: A Positive Outlook Can Get You Through Anything (lifewithoutpink.com)