March 19, 2012

The Story of Lungleavin Day

Heather and her family: a celebration of life!

As an optimist, I’ve always seen the world with rose-colored glasses. I always see the glass as half full, even when I was faced with the diagnosis of deadly cancer when I was 36-years-old. Not only that, but I had just given birth to my daughter less than four months before the diagnosis.

I was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma on November 21, 2005. You can never expect such a diagnosis, and I certainly didn’t. It was supposed to be the best time of my life, enjoying my days with the new addition to my family. I heard those dreadful words, “You have cancer.”

I could have chosen to wallow in self-pity. I could have become pitiful and angry with everyone and everything. Instead I chose to face the diagnosis head-on. I put on my rose-colored glasses and fought for my life. I refused to become a victim. I was determined to raise my little girl.

I have learned that cancer is truly a double-edged sword. While a cancer diagnosis is truly one of the worst things that can happen to you, that does not mean positive things cannot come out of it. I could not afford not to see the positive. Part of my determination to continue on was that I was determined to help others with the same diagnosis so that they could remain strong in the face of danger as well.

I began to see one of the world’s leading mesothelioma doctors and gave my tumor on my left lung a nickname, Punxsutawney Phil. Since I was going to have Phil removed on Groundhog’s Day of 2006, I renamed the holiday Lungleavin Day. We still celebrate the holiday as a celebration of life, conquering fear and looking on the bright side of any situation. Most of all, we celebrate hope.

I met so many people that I would not have had the opportunity to if I was never diagnosed with cancer. These people are amazing, passionate and most of all, tough. I call them mesothelioma warriors because they are committed to bringing awareness to this disease that so little know about. Everybody is affected by mesothelioma; the disease forever changes wives, husbands, sons and daughters. My battle with cancer has brought me closer to these wonderful people.

My life has purpose, so much more than I previously thought. I want to continue inspiring others and bringing hope to the recently diagnosed.

Heather Von St James is a mesothelioma survivor and a guest blogger for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. Her story is one of hope and inspiration and she hopes to spread her message to anyone who may be going through similar situations to her own.
Check out Heather’s story on the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog.

1 comment:

leira said...

thanks for the blog post i am glad that she was cured thank you for sharing her story..

leira ‎

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