08 October 2015

Cancer and Birthdays.

There is something about cancer survivors.  We find each other, draw strength from one another's journeys.  This is the case of Heather and me, who found each other on this vast world of the internet.  She heard about my journey and reached out, as cancer survivors often do.

My blog is pretty full of my own cancer story, and six years out, I am starting to feel that maybe I have beaten cancer back.  I am too afraid to say outloud that I have beat cancer! because I know too many people who have and reoccurances after ten or more years.  What I will say that is that every day that I am cancer free, I am filled with gratitude.

October is my cancer free anniversary, and this year, since I celebrated my milestone 5 years last year, I have decided to take a quieter approach.  I decorated this adorable little tree with breast cancer ornaments, and it will remain in my office at home through Christmas.  I am looking forward to filling it up with pink!  I will celebrate six years of being cancer free every day when I look at it!

On to Heather's story, she is a ten year survivor of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Don't know what this is? I didn't either, until I read Heather's story at her blog. 

 Mesothelioma is a preventable cancer that is associated exclusively with asbestos exposure. Unfortunately, in the U.S. and other countries, this toxic material has not yet been banned, so people continue to be exposed to it. Mesothelioma can affect the organs in your body. (For Heather, it affected the lining of her lungs, and her left lung).  

On her blog, she decribes her symptoms, and how she got this cancer.  So innocent.  She talks about her determination to beat the odds, which were not good.  It is a true story of survival.  Please go to her site and read her story.  Cancer survivors need to tell their story.  It helps us all.

This is Heather and her husband, Cam.  Cam strikes me as a man who also has a large dose of determination in his body, too.  As I read about him, it reminded me of the strength of my own husband, who never missed an appointment, surgery or meeting as it pertained to my cancer.  This quote from Cam expresses well what most husbands must feel:

“When my wife, Heather, began her battle with cancer, I was fortunate enough to be able to be with her for her surgery in Boston. But when cancer strikes a family, life unfortunately isn’t put on pause. Having to return to work while she went through her recovery process left me feeling helpless. However, I quickly learned that just because I was far away, didn’t mean I couldn’t still care for her in a meaningful way.”

If you suspect or know someone dealing with this type of cancer, please direct them here to get more information.  Have them read Heather's story and let them know there is hope.  

I also wanted to post today to celebrate my friend Linda's birthday.  She, too, is going through her own cancer journey.  I want her to see all the hope that is out there in the world, people surviving against unthinkable odds.  Happy birthday, dear, sweet friend.  Happy birthday.

Our most recent photo, taken after dinner at O'Donough's, in September, 2015.  Me, Linda, Ashley and Charlotte.

The four of us again!

Linda joined a book club I was in, and enhanced our conversations with her insights and wisdom.

Bunco Babes!

Me, Linda and Ashley, right before my cancer surgery.  Showing support by wearing this cute tees!

Another shot of our fabulous Bunco Babes!

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