A Wife Loved Like The Church

How I Survived Mesothelioma Cancer – A Guest Post

Posted on: January 25, 2012

Back in December, Heather reached out to me to share her harrowing story as a mesothelioma cancer survivor. As some of you may know, my sweet friend, Brittney, passed away from colon cancer 3.5 years ago. Since Brittney, cancer survivors and their families have been very near to my heart. In fact, one of the biggest reasons I run the Austin Half Marathon is because they partner with LiveStrong, The Lance Armstrong Foundation.  Heather has graciously allowed me to share her story on my blog.

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These are the last words you want or expect to hear, especially when you’re celebrating the birth of your only child. But on November 21, 2005, I was told by my doctor, “You have cancer.” Those three words were spoken to me just three and a half months after the birth of my daughter, when I was 36 years old. That’s when I found out that I had malignant pleural mesothelioma.

I have always been an optimist, a person who sees the glass as half full, not half empty. That optimism served me well as I prepared for the greatest fight of my life, the fight to stay alive, to live to be a mother to my little girl.

Everyone who experiences cancer has a different story to tell. Yet there is one common claim that all cancer survivors share; going through a cancer diagnoses makes us stronger. The three words “you have cancer” may have changed my life forever, but they changed it for the better. As with any cancer survivor, I had to make the choice not to be the victim.  I had to choose life, not death, and I had to learn how to mitigate my fears. That’s when I vowed to help others who were facing the same situation as I was; somehow, knowing that I could use my experience to the good gave me the strength to do whatever I needed to do to survive. I wanted to give others the same attitude of hope that I was naturally blessed with, because hope is the thing that you lose first of all when you get a mesothelioma diagnosis. 

As part of my cancer journey, I searched until I found one of the leading mesothelioma doctors to help me win my victory over cancer. When I found out that I was scheduled to have my surgery to remove the cancerous tumor on Groundhog’s Day of 2006, I even gave my tumor a nickname, Punxsutawney Phil, to encourage myself to believe that the tumor would no longer cast the shadow of winter over my life.  I also gave a new name to Groundhog Day: Lungleavin’ Day, the day I would be rid of the cancerous lung.

Now, I celebrate this day ever year, because it is the day that my life began again, the day that I conquered my fears and had the life-giving surgery that would give me back my very existence on this earth. This is a celebration of happiness, of hope and love, and I get to share it with my beautiful daughter. 

Because of this terrible diagnosis of mesothelioma, I met some of the most compassionate, remarkable people I will ever know, warriors in the battle against mesothelioma who have the strength to conquer and win over this disease. Because of my own battle, I now have the opportunity to join with these people on the front lines in the war against mesothelioma, bringing a message of survival and life to the millions of family members and loved ones who are going through the same ordeal as I did. You can win against mesothelioma, and I am here, alive and well, to prove it.

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Heather is wife to Cameron, mama to 6 year old Lily Rose and a survivor of mesothelioma cancer. She blogs about her survival story, gives people encouragement as they are battling against their own cancer, and talks about how she is doing now over at Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog.

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9 Responses to "How I Survived Mesothelioma Cancer – A Guest Post"

What a story! Although I would never wish cancer on anyone, just reading this makes me believe that the experience has made you stronger. Glory to God that you are cancer-free 🙂 – hallelujah!

Thank you so much 😉 Hallelujah is right!!! This experience has taught me much.. Trust the Almighty..;)
And Thanks again Sarah for sharing my story, helping being more awarenes to mesothelioma, and for ALL you do for the cancer community.. God Bless ❤

Thanks for sharing your incredible story, Heather. It’s always heart warming and encouraging to hear survivor stories!

What a great story and attitude, I love that you named the tumor.

Wow, Heather, thank you so much for sharing your story! So thankful you were able to fight it and are so much stronger for having gone through it!

I have a dear friend who is a cancer survivor. Thanks for sharing your story.

Heather, thanks for sharing your story. And Sarah, thanks for hosting her. I love what she writes about choosing life and not death!

I love that you gave the tumor a name. So thankful for amazing doctors and people like you who share their stores.

Thanks for sharing your story, It’s always heart Touching and encouraging to hear survivor stories!

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