Monday, January 9, 2012

Meet Heather

One of the best parts of blogging, for me, are the amazing people I come in contact
with.  When I first read Heather's story, I was overcome with emotion and
completely inspired by her fearless spirit.  Wife to Cameron, mother to Lily Rose,
cancer survivor and advocate: Heather is a beautiful example of someone who took her
life circumstances and used them to better herself and those around her.  She is living
life to the fullest, making the most of each day, and I am so excited to have her here with
us today, sharing some inspiration with us all.
Meet Heather...
I've always been accused of being an optimist. I wear rose-colored glasses and see the glass
as half-full. Never has that trait served me better than when I was diagnosed with a
terminal form of cancer. I was thirty-six years old and had just given birth to my only
child three and a half months before my diagnosis.

On November 21, 2005, I was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. I knew
then that I had a choice; I could give up and wallow in self-pity while cursing God and
asking, "Why me?" or I could face cancer head-on. I chose to continue being a positive
person and put on my rose-colored glasses in order to face my diagnosis and fight
cancer while raising my baby daughter.

Most people who have battled cancer will tell you it is a double-edged sword. While it is
one of the worst things that can happen to you, it can also be a good thing. My life has
been forever changed for the better for many reasons that relate to my diagnosis. I chose
to face cancer with a positive mindset and refused to be a victim. I also vowed to help
other people who were diagnosed with mesothelioma. Hope is one of the first things
people lose when they are diagnosed with mesothelioma and I wanted to help them keep
their hope alive. I chose to see the good in everything, whatever the case may
have been.

I was referred to the world's leading mesothelioma doctor and was given hope of my own
that I could beat cancer. I nicknamed my tumor " Punxsutawney Phil" when I learned
I would have it removed on Groundhogs Day, 2006. My family and I then re-named
the holiday "Lungleavin Day", as it was also the day my lung left. Each year, we now
celebrate "Lungleavin Day" on the first weekend of February with a huge party. It is
a celebration of life, hope, conquering fear, and choosing to see the best in a
bad situation.

I now know many wonderful people because of my diagnosis of a form of cancer that is
not very well known, aside from a daytime television commercial. However, many of
the wives, husbands, sons, and daughters who have battled the disease are people that
I now call friends. I would not have known them if it weren't for my own battle with
cancer. My life has much more purpose to it now, and I want to continue to give hope to
those who need it most.

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deanna@delirious-rhapsody said...

this was such a beautiful story, and it brought tears to my eyes. :) i consider myself an optimist, but it's hard to say how i would feel in that situation. i can only hope i would have half the strength of heather!

Anonymous said...

Brought tears to my eyes, too! Heather's spirit and "lungleavin day" celebrating is absolutely inspiring. Thanks for sharing. God bless.

Renee said...

AMAZING!!! Heather is just the most AMAZING person!!! Thank you so much for sharing!!!