Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Guest post!!!!

Today, Unpredictable Bliss is having its very first guest post by Heather Von St. James, a mother and cancer survivor!!!  Here is her story.

What I Learned from Cancer
I have always been called an optimist. Throughout my life, I have seen the glass as being half full. This characteristic was a tremendous help to me when, at the age of 36, I was diagnosed with cancer. That was on November 21, 2005. My only child had been born three and a half months before the diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma. I certainly didn’t expect the diagnosis; I don’t think anyone ever does. The diagnosis was made worse because this was supposed to be one of the happiest times of my life. The words “you have cancer” continually repeated themselves in my head. I could have given up, cursed God, and asked, “Why me”? Instead, I chose to face reality. As a new mother, I realized I had to fight for my life and make sure I was there to raise my daughter.
Cancer can sometimes be a blessing in disguise, as many survivors will attest. In some ways, it is the worst thing that can happen to you, but good things can come of the experience. Because of my experience with cancer, my life is better. It was an opportunity to show my strength rather than be a victim. Because I made the best of what was a very bad situation, I wasn’t afraid. While I was sick, I promised myself that if I got better, I would help other people. That thought gave me hope, which can sometimes be hard to retain when you have cancer. During this time, I also found God.
My treatment was through the foremost expert on mesothelioma in the world. He made me believe that I could overcome this diagnosis and get better. Since I was due to have surgery to excise the tumor on Groundhogs day in 2006, I nicknamed it Punxsutawney Phil. I also started to call Groundhog’s Day Lungleavin Day, because on that day my lung was removed. Now I have a party every year on that day to celebrate my health and new life, as well as conquering my fear of cancer.
While I was battling cancer, I had the chance to meet many amazing people. The people I met while I was sick are some of the toughest, most resilient people I have ever known. Myself, as well as my fellow mesothelioma warriors work hard to make people aware of a disease that is often not represented the way other cancers are. We include the spouses and children of those have suffered from cancer, as well as other cancer survivors. If I hadn’t gone through cancer, I would never have had the chance to meet them.

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