I am honored to have the opportunity to have an amazing, courageous mama be a guest blogger here at TheMielkeWay! She blogs about her struggles she went through as a brand new mom diagnosed with a terrible type of cancer. She is a fighter, and even against the odds, a survivor. Inspirational doesn’t even begin to describe her, as she shares her story to provide hope and guidance to other parents in similar situations. I think we could all learn quite a bit from her. I’m pleased to introduce you to Heather-
For as long as I can remember, people have told me that I wear rose colored glasses, that I’m an optimist. Those traits never served me as well as when I was diagnosed with cancer. My daughter was only three and a half months old when I received word that I had Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma. My life was turned upside down. I had two choices, wallow in the diagnosis or fight. I chose to fight.
When you talk with people who have fought cancer they will tell you that it’s a double edged sword. Part of your life is changed forever in ways you cannot fathom. Another part of your life is changed for the better. You learn a lot about yourself when you are sick. You learn not to be a victim. You learn to fight for yourself in ways you could never have imagined.
I was lucky. Mesothelioma treatment is grueling but I was referred to one of the world’s leading experts. He gave me hope that I would beat this thing. I vowed that I would help others if I got better.
We nicknamed my tumor Punxsutawney Phil when we found out that my surgery to remove it was scheduled for Groundhog’s Day 2006. Soon after we changed Groundhog’s Day to Lungleavin Day, because I was going to lose my left lung. Every year since then we celebrate Lungleavin Day. It’s a day of hope and love for life. A day for conquering fear and seeing the good that can come from an otherwise bad situation.
I have met so many wonderful people since my diagnosis. It amazes me how strong and courageous they all are. I call them Mesothelioma warriors, because that’s what they are. Warriors who fight harder than anyone I know. These are people who are committed to bringing awareness to the disease, not just a quick clip on a day time commercial. These are people I now call friends. I would have never had the opportunity to know them if it weren’t for my battle with cancer. Since my diagnosis, my life is filled with so much more purpose. I strive to give help and hope to all of those who need it.
Thank you so much for the post, Heather- and if you all would like to read more of her stories- please visit her blog at http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/heather/ .