Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Guest post and new blog to love, Heather von St James

I've recently had the pleasure of working with this remarkable and courageous woman and mother, Heather von St James. Shortly after her daughter was born, she found out she had cancer, with a fatality rate of 90-95%. Over the past year I have been touched by a number of people battling this awful disease and people who are coping with a loved one's battle. In the spirit of awareness, faith, and reverence, I am so happy to share her story here:




I’ve always been accused of being an optimist. Optimism, a trait that never served me better until I was diagnosed with cancer. At the age of 36, I realized that I would be fighting for my life. On Nov 21, 2005, I was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, just 3 1/2 short months after giving birth to my only child. You never expect a diagnosis like that, let alone in, what seems to be, the happiest time of your life. Those three, little words... “You Have Cancer.” At that moment, I had a choice. I could give up, wallow in self pity and cry out “WHY ME GOD!?” Or I could battle cancer head on; and that is what I did. I did what any new mom would do, I fought to live for my baby.

Cancer is truly a double-edged sword. Most cancer survivors will say the same thing. It is the worst thing that can happen, but in but in a way... it can be a good thing. My life is forever changed for the better because of it. Maybe it's because I chose not to be the victim or because I chose to make light of a dreadful situation. I just wanted the fear to fade away. I vowed that I wanted to help others diagnosed with cancer. I wanted to give them hope, because that is the first thing that people lose. Whatever the reason, I chose to find the good in my situation, and I began my battle against cancer.

First, I was referred to the world's leading mesothelioma doctors, who gave ME hope that I could beat this thing... I nicknamed my tumor Punxsutawney Phil, after learning that I was going to have the tumor removed on Groundhog Day, 2006. We renamed Groundhog Day "Lungleavin Day", since it was the day my lung left. Every year we have a party to celebrate Lungleavin Day. It's a celebration of life, conquering fear, being positive and maintaining hope.

More than I lost, I gained from having cancer. I met the most amazingly strong and passionate people through this experience. I met people, who were committed to bringing about an awareness to a disease that, previously, lacked public education. I met wives, husbands, sons, and daughters, all of which had been affected by mesothelioma. I would not know any of them if it were not for my own battle with cancer. My life seems to have a greater purpose now. I want to help give hope to those who need it, just as I needed it on Nov. 21st, 2005.


You can find more of her inspired writing and her incredible journey where she blogs at mesothelioma.com

1 comment:

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