Friday, May 11, 2012

Guest Blogger - Viewing Cancer Through Colored Glasses

Life is so unpredictable & fragile. I wouldn't dare to imagine myself to be in the position whereby I'm left with so little time & so many issues to face. What would you do if you know if you have only xx amount of time left in your life and growing children by your side who constantly need your attention & care all the time? I'm honoured to have Mummy Heather to share with us about her life battling with cancer. I really admire her courage and her positive thinking in life. Here is her story:

Throughout my life, those who know me best have accused me of viewing life through rose-colored glasses. I’ve always been the type of person who sees the glass as half-full, an incurable optimist who sees the best in even the hardest times. Optimism is a trait that has served me well, and I have never benefited more from my rosy outlook than when I was diagnosed with cancer as a young mother.

I received a diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma on November 21, 2005 when my baby girl was only three months old. What should have been the happiest time of my life was shattered by three shocking words, “you have cancer.” The news was devastating, but I soon realized that I had to make a choice: either give up, wallow in self-pity and curse God, or face my diagnosis head on and fight. I chose to put on my rose-colored glasses and fight for my life so that I could raise my little girl, as any mother would do.

My physician, one of the world’s best mesothelioma doctors gave me hope that I would survive. With my resolve firmly in place, I chose to face the most difficult situation of my life with humor and optimism. When surgery to remove my tumor was scheduled for Groundhog Day, I named my tumor Punxsutawney Phil. Groundhog Day became Lungleavin Day, commemorating removal of my lung.

As I faced surgery and treatment with as much humor as I could muster, I vowed to help others facing the same diagnosis. I wanted to give others the same hope that helped me fight to survive. Since my recovery, I have worked to live up to that vow. In doing so, I have met wonderful people whom I would not have met without my cancer diagnosis.

At the time of my diagnosis, cancer seemed to be the worst possible fate. Yet my life has changed for the better in many ways because of my experiences with such a serious disease. I have faced a devastating disease and survived, learning to rise above fear and fight rather than resign myself to being a victim. In working to help others, I have met many amazing, strong and passionate people.

Each year I have a party on Lungleavin Day as a celebration of life, of victory over fear and of the good that arises from an otherwise bad situation. I am grateful for my new friends, fellow mesothelioma warriors committed to raising awareness of the disease that changed my life. My journey through cancer has given my life more purpose, and inspired me to work to give others the hope they need.

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