Monday, April 23, 2012

guest post: heather's inspiring story.

When Heather, an inspiring cancer survivor, emailed me asking to share her story on my blog, I was humbled & grateful to be able to help spread her message.  She has a beautiful story of positivity & strength that I know will inspire you all! Visit Heather's blog here.

Hope in the Face of Mesothelioma

People always told me that I am an optimist. I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 36, and my lifelong optimism saved me more than ever before.

I received the diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma on November 21, 2005, only 3 1/2 months after the birth of my only child. The last thing I or anyone else expected at that moment in my life was a deadly cancer diagnosis. On one hand, I could blame God and engage in both rage and self-pity, or I could fight cancer with the same optimism that I always had. I decided to fight so that I could raise my young daughter.

Being diagnosed with cancer is not a simple thing, as many cancer survivors already know. Being diagnosed with mesothelioma was terrible, but it did change my life for the better in some ways because of the fact that I did choose to fight it. I chose optimism over fear in the hope that it would ease the suffering of others diagnosed with cancer because a diagnosis like that often steals hope. My own hope came from speaking to one of the world's leading mesothelioma doctors, to whom I was referred. I found out that my tumor would be removed on Groundhog Day in 2006, so I named my tumor Punxsutawney Phil, and we later referred to Groundhog Day as Lungleavin Day because that is the day that my lung literally left. We now celebrate Lungleavin Day every year as a reminder of hope and life triumphing over fear.

I met some of the most astounding people because of this cancer diagnosis, and I would not have met them otherwise. I met fellow survivors and fighters, their families, and individuals seeking to generate awareness about mesothelioma. Unlike some other hot topics, mesothelioma does not receive a great deal of media attention aside from the occasional commercial on daytime television. I would not know these people if I had never received my diagnosis, but I now consider them all to be dear to me. My cancer diagnosis gave me a purpose, and my purpose is to spread hope.


  1. How inspiring. Thank you for sharing this.

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