Tag Archives: cancer

How to Celebrate Hope!

12 Mar

Welcome guest blogger — Heather Von St. James!

Finding out you have cancer is not an experience that most people would celebrate, and I was no exception. It seemed particularly unfair that the diagnosis came just three and a half months after the birth of my precious daughter. This was my first child. It should have been a time of great fun and delight.

Instead of congratulations, I was presented with the devastating diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma on November 25, 2005. This is an extremely aggressive cancer with a dismal survival rate. Why me? Why now? Then it hit me: why not me? When would be a good time?

I decided not to give in to despair, but to meet this disease head-on. I had a beautiful daughter to bring up. I wanted to be there for her first day of kindergarten and her final day of high school. I wanted to witness her walk down the aisle on her wedding day. I wanted to rejoice with her on the birth of her own children. I wanted to be there to cheer her on through good times and bad.

I had to beat this cancer in order to do that. I had to keep hope alive and well and fighting for me every minute of every day. This started with a referral to a leading mesothelioma doctor who started the process of replacing terror and despair with hope.

Along with hope, I turned to laughter. The day of my surgery happened to be Ground Hog’s Day. What better name for the tumor than Punxsutawney Phil? This was one groundhog that should never see his shadow! We began to celebrate Groundhogs Day, renaming it Lungleaving Day. That was the day my diseased left lung was removed. It left, taking with it the tumor. Good riddance. Don’t look back. It has been a long road, but each day is celebrated as a victory. We laugh a lot at our house. We love a lot, too.

Along the way I have met so many courageous and delightful individuals. I wouldn’t have known these new friends if I hadn’t received that diagnosis, awful as it seemed then. I’ve dedicated my life to celebrating hope, for me, for all other cancer survivors, and for all other people who’ve been diagnosed with this disease. Hope for the patients and their families, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, cousins, uncles and aunts. Hope for all of my new friends. Hope for myself, and most especially, hope for my little girl.

My life has a new sense of purpose and fulfillment. I want to help others who face this diagnosis and work toward recovery. Laughter rings through the house on a regular basis. On that day years ago, I could not have guessed the joys that would come to us because we are in this fight. Hope is a rare and precious gift. It’s also free to anyone who needs it. You just have to reach out to the person next to you, give a smile or a hug, welcome the new day with thankfulness, and have a laugh ready for tough moments. Laughter and tears and the hugs of loved ones get you through the days.

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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. http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/heather/

Dreams Are Important

15 Jul

A friend of mine sent me a true story today that really brings home the importance of dreams.

Most of the time dreams don’t make sense (at least to me). But, sometimes they do bring us clear, concise messages, that leave very little need for interpretation. We can choose to share, to heed, or to keep these dreams to ourselves or to completely ignore them.

Here is the story:

A high school friend of mine, Barb, was at lunch today; the last I had heard she was in the hospital for surgery. It all started with a rash on her neck that wouldn’t go away – she got medication for it but it just got worse.

Then this 70 year old woman began spotting.

Her 17 year old granddaughter came to her one day and asked when was the last time she had a physical. It had been several years ago. She got upset and said that she had a very clear dream that she was at her Grandma’s funeral, she couldn’t get the dream out of her mind, and Grandma needed to get a check-up.

Later when Barb told her son of the granddaughter’s dream, he just looked at her and said, “Mom, call for an appointment now. I had the same dream”.

Barb is a very religious lady. She felt she could not ignore what seemed to be a clear message and so she made the appointment. The doctors discovered cancer that was eating through the wall of the uterus, and in a short while would have invaded the rest of her body. As it was, she just had to undergo a hysterectomy with no follow-up care.
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Two things really stand out for me. The most important lesson is that when we have a life or death dream about someone, it is imperative that we share it with that person.

Put aside all thoughts of feeling silly, wierd or cooky, share the dream.

Whether the other person believes it or heeds it, is not your concern.

No one wants to look back and wish they had shared something with someone, especially someone they love, and they did not – and because they did not, a completely different outcome ensued.

Another important point is that if someone steps out and shares a dream they had about you – listen!

In this case, two people had the same dream. If neither one had shared it, I dare say the outcome of this story would have been very different.

Dreams are important.

Dreams have messages to make our lives better.

It is always our choice how we act or react to them when we receive them.