Even if you know me in real life, you might not know that in 2014 I endured a cancer scare that lasted over five months. It was terrifying. I felt powerless. And so incredibly scared that I could be leaving my then 1.5 year old behind. It was hard to talk about and sometimes even impossible, so I shared it very sparingly. I just held my breath all the days and cried myself to sleep all the nights. At the time, my health insurance situation was such that I could not get respectful and speedy care and so it just dragged on. In the end I was given a clean bill of health and the rush of relief…I cannot describe. I know, though I dodged this diagnosis, life is short and I have no guarantees. Besides earning a few extra grey hairs in the process, I’d say the experience left me with some perspective – and it’s something that still makes me count my blessings daily.
I recently stumbled on the story of Heather Von St. James, a cancer survivor. Her story of not only surviving but really thriving – is really inspirational. When she was diagnosed she was thought to only have just over a year of life ahead of her. Heather was diagnosed with a form of cancer called mesothelioma. It’s a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, which she was exposed to from her father’s work jacket as a child.
Ten years later she is still here with her daughter and the rest of her family – and is able to share her story with us. She has beat the odds and it’s an incredible story to read. It will bring on some tears for sure! But it’s a deeply inspiring story and I’m glad to have crossed paths with her here online. If you have a few minutes her story is definitely worth a read – check it out here.
Heather Von St. James + daughter Lily.