Thursday, February 2, 2012

Guest Post- Heather Von St. James, Mesothelioma Survivor Blog

Hi All,

I wanted to introduce Heather, today she is here to share her inspiring story about her defeat of mesothelioma. As someone who has lost family to cancer it is a subject near and dear to my heart. I love to share inspirational stories of overcoming the unlikely. She wants to share her story and spread awareness about this cancer that most do not survive.

Let’s welcome Heather from
Heather Von St. James - Mesothelioma Survivor Blog

Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Survival

November 21, 2005 was a day that changed my life, and forced me to figure out once and for all if I truly was a “glass half full” person – it was the day that my doctor diagnosed me with malignant pleural mesothelioma. Not only was I only 36 years old, but I'd just given birth to my first and only child. Rather that put my head down, pity myself, and give up, I heard those three words - “You have cancer” - and made the decision to turn a totally unexpected situation around. Raising my daughter, and fighting for my life became my goals.

Many people would not think of having cancer as a positive experience, but this disease can be a double-edged sword. After looking past all of the negative things, cancer survivors will realize that they have not only beat an extremely debilitating sickness, but that they have learned a great deal about themselves in the process. Not allowing myself to become a victim helped me to get past the fear and uncertainty of the situation, and made me want to help others that were in my shoes. I had hope, and I chose to try and focus on what good could come from the whole experience.

My tumor, nicknamed Punxsutawney Phil, was removed on Groundhog's Day 2006. Having one of the world's leading mesothelioma doctors tell me that there was hope, and that the possibility of beating my cancer was a very real outcome helped my family and me get through this time. As the removal was a success, we celebrate every year – a holiday called “Lungleavin' Day,” so that we never forget the hope, the fight, the fear, and the fact that sometimes great things come from awful situations.

If not for this diagnosis and mesothelioma treatment process, I would not have met many of the people that are in my life today. The toughest, strongest, and most passionate people are the people that surround us everyday. They are the sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and relatives. They are the advocates who simply want to bring awareness about the situation to light, and provide hope and reassurance to people like me. We are all family now, sharing some of the same stories and experiences, and I would not know any of them if not for my own cancer diagnosis. My story of survival makes me feel as if I have a purpose, and a duty of provide hope and support to anyone in need. I did not give up, and my optimism can serve as a blueprint for those in similar situations: slip on those rose-colored glasses, and get ready for the ride of your lives, because there is always hope.

Thanks Heather for coming and sharing your story. You have definitely inspired me.


  1. Thank You for having her as a guest blogger... Lung cancer is rampant in my family... steel mill workers and coal miners are too... kind of go together... I am so happy to know that some do survive to tell the tale... I'll be passing it on to give others hope too.

  2. I am glad I can offer some hope Dawn... that is why I am so thankful that my story is being shared by wonderful bloggers like Jesika..

  3. I am glad I can offer some hope Dawn... that is why I am so thankful that my story is being shared by wonderful bloggers like Jesika..


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