Saturday, October 20, 2012

Guest Post - Heather's Story

I love the blog's unique to any other social media out there, in my opinion. When people reach out because they have been reading "your blog" you feel like, "wow, people are out there reading and they do care and other people have a story, too!" It's always so neat when a reader contacts me because they have read my blog. My blog is nothing special, it just puts in somewhat of an order our family happenings and allows family members that live so far away from us to be able to experience our little life. I never really think anyone but family is reading it. BUT....every now and then someone will reach out to me and just offer me a word of encouragement or tell me they appreciated what I wrote. It's cool...and this is what brings about this guest post....

Heather, a blog friend, reached out to me about posting her story for my audience of readers. I read her story and knew that, without a doubt, I wanted to help her with her cause. So, take a minute and read a story about a precious mother...who has been given a second chance.

My Mesothelioma Story

When I was 36 years old, my life changed 100 percent when I gave birth to my baby daughter. My husband and I were immediately amazed at the new life we had created, and I loved being a mom. Unfortunately, another event happened that same year that would change my life even more.
Three and a half months after my daughter was born, my doctor walked into the room and told me that I had cancer. More specifically, I had malignant pleural mesothelioma, a serious form of cancer that is usually a result of asbestos exposure. No young mom expects to hear this kind of news, and I will never forget the shock that I felt when I heard my doctor's diagnosis.
After the initial shock wore off, I wanted to find out more information. I mostly wanted to find out how in the world I had received so much exposure to asbestos. I eventually realized that I had mesothelioma because of secondary exposure to asbestos many years earlier. Believe it or not, I was exposed to asbestos even though I grew up in a house that was not structurally contaminated.
Like most children, I was excited to see my father when he arrived home from work each day. My dad worked in the construction industry. Since he worked mostly with drywall, he would be covered in dust when he arrived home. I was so happy to see my dad that I did not mind the dirt. I would run to him and wrap my arms around him as tightly as I could.
Tragically, the dust that covered my father was contaminated with asbestos. When I hugged him, I was breathing in this dangerous dust. Years of exposure would eventually lead to my diagnosis of mesothelioma.
All doctors that knew of my case were surprised by my age. You see, most mesothelioma patients in that past were older men who were exposed to asbestos on their job sites. I was a young female, and I had certainly never spent a day at a construction site. However, I would eventually find out that there were others who did not fit the typical mesothelioma patient profile.
More and more women are being diagnosed with mesothelioma because they received secondary exposure in their homes. As children greeted their dads and wives laundered their husbands' clothes, they were inhaling asbestos fibers every day.
I know how difficult mesothelioma treatment is, so I have now given my life to advocate for my disease. During my advocacy, I have met so many other incredible mesothelioma survivors. Together, we work to raise mesothelioma awareness and advocate for new research and treatment options.
We are all at different stages in our cancer journeys, but we are there to support each other. We celebrate our victories and cry with each other on our weakest days. Thank you for allowing me to share my story with you. If I can reach just one person with the message of mesothelioma awareness, I know that I am doing the right thing. Watch this short video on mesothelioma cancer to learn more!

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