I've never done a guest post before, but when Heather contacted me and told me her story I thought it was a great story to share. As mothers, or women who hope to be mothers, we all dread anything like this happening to us and Heather handled her situation with grance and courage. As we all know, a little bit of hope can go a long way. Here is Heather's story and this is her blog.
Cancer through Rose Colored Glasses
Throughout my life people accused me of being an optimist. I find the good in everything. This characteristic kept me going when I was diagnosed with lung cancer in my mid thirties. I was diagnosed only a few months after the birth of my first and only child. I received the diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma on November 21, 2005. No one is ever prepared for the diagnosis, especially during what should be the happiest time of your life. But, there I was, hearing those devastating three words…you have cancer. These were my choices. I could give in, drown in self-pity and curse God. Why me God? I could also defiantly confront this diagnosis, which is what I chose to do. I decided to lift my chin up and do what any young mother would do, fight for my life and continued raising my infant daughter.
Cancer is a contradiction. Many people who have fought a battle with cancer will agree. Hearing the diagnosis is the worst thing that can happen, but simultaneously, the situation produces good. My life is forever changed for the better for having gone through the experience. I chose not to be a helpless victim. I chose to make light of this dreadful situation, hoping the fear would fade away. I swore to assist others who received the same news. I desired to give people hope; because hope is the first thing that shatters after hearing you have mesothelioma. Despite all of the emotions I felt and all the negative thoughts I had, I chose to find the blessings.
I was referred to one of the world’s leading mesothelioma doctors. The specialist gave ME hope that I could win the battle against this disease. I nicknamed my tumor Punxsutawney Phil, after discovering I would have surgery to remove the tumor on the same day in 2006 that many wait in anticipation, wondering if that woodchuck would see his shadow. We renamed that day; since it also marked the day I gave up my left lung and the deadly disease it contained. Every year after the surgery, during the first weekend in February, we have a celebration party for the successful treatment. I celebrate being alive, overcoming terror and witnessing the blessings that erupted through an otherwise traumatic situation. It is a festivity of hope.
I would not know the many wonderful people I now know had it not been for the cancer diagnosis. They are incredible people. They are the most resilient, passionate and strong people I have ever met. These are mesothelioma warriors. People committed to bringing about awareness of a disease that gets very little attention. On rare occasions, you might hear about mesothelioma on a commercial during the day. These fighters are the spouses and children of mesothelioma patients. They all have loved ones who battled this form of cancer. I now consider them my friends. I would never have had the pleasure of meeting any of these folks had it not been for my own lung cancer battle. My life has a greater purpose now, and I want to continue giving hope to others fighting the battle.