I received a wonderful email this week from a lovely lady, Heather Von St James. In 2005, at the age of 36, she was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. Heather had given birth to her beautiful daughter, Lily Rose just 3 months before.
After reading my blog, Heather reached out to me to ask me to help raise awareness of the illness and as a fellow survivor, albeit of a different form of cancer, I was happy to help.
Having exchanged a few emails, Heather asked me to write a post about something I’m thankful for and immediately, my girls sprung to the forefront of my mind – but I’ve spent the last 24 hours digging a little deeper than that…
What am I really thankful for? What really defined the life I have built for myself today? Not bravery, as @crazywithtwins had mentioned in her post this week…as she put, when you have cancer, being brave isn’t an option! You either lie there and allow it to beat you or lie there and allow it to be treated – you lose control of your body and yourself for a while and come out at the other end. I was of course therefore thankful for having that control back…but that wasn’t it.
Was it others around me who helped support my journey? Well yes, of course it was, but then I always feel a certain degree of guilt at how many people’s lives were changed as a result of me…
What I’m really thankful for, is strength. through all of this, I’ve realised that the ability to be strong carried us through that entire journey all those years ago and my own body’s strength allowed me to accept the treatment, develop no long term side effects, stay healthy and have two wonderful children. I was strong enough to try for a baby, accepting that it may have never happened. I was strong enough to leave home and marry my husband, putting my care into someone else’s hands so to speak, after years of being protected and cared for by my mother.
It was strength of mind that gave me the push to begin writing my story, to help others, to put myself out there for all to see in the media and to push my past to the back of my mind and focus on living my life!
Heather’s attitude is amazing and despite facing an awful battle with mesothelioma 7 years ago, with a very young baby, her focus has become raising awareness to help others which I really do admire – you can read Heather’s story at her blog which is here and please help to raise awareness by writing a post on something you’re thankful for, tweet the link to me @mammybear84 and I’ll RT and link to Heather, who will do the same.
I’ll also copy a link to your post here 🙂