What are You Thankful For?

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 🙂

Ethans Escapades

6 thoughts on “What are You Thankful For?

  1. Beautiful post. As I’ve said to Emma before, I really admire your determination to not let cancer win. Raiding awareness for others is a truly inspirational thing to do.

    I know how it feels to come through the other end of a dark tunnel, and you’re right it all boils down to the strength you have within yourself. I was asked recently what sets aside the people who break free from their past from the ones who don’t manage to, and am convinced that determination and self-belief are the main factors.

    • What a lovely comment and I share your view too – it’s very difficult as an adult to have that strength, as children we are more resilient as we know far less and are protected way more I guess.


  2. What a lovely and moving post. I think you are right, it’s not about bravery or control. It’s about inner strength to live life and deal with everything we encounter. Well done for you that you found that strength. It isn’t easy, and the hardest part is keeping it through the process.
    It is an amazing thing to have and to be thankful for.

    • Thanks so much for your comment – I think part of the strength is admitting when it lapses and dealing with that too…as I write my book, every symptom of being unwell that I encounter triggers my fear of relapse and then I have to get control of my thoughts and move through the anxiety – it’s tough!

      Reading so many inspiring stories of others is reassuring and empowering though and this is why I feel awareness is so important xx

  3. What a moving post. I admire anyone that has the strength to battle cancer, and I think you’re right it is all about the strength. Off to read Heather’s blog.

    Thanks for linking up with Small Steps Amazing Achievements :0) (Sorry It’s taken me a while to get round to this post)

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