Through the process of having cancer, you either learn of some wonderfully inspiring people or, if you are lucky, you get to meet some. Below I have shared a blog post with my readers, written by Cameron Von St. James of the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. Cameron asked me to share this information with you. Camerons beautiful wife Heather was diagnosed with cancer in 2005, here Cameron shares with us his thoughts about Christmas time and being thankful for the blessings he has received having such a supportive family when he needed them most….over to you Cameron 🙂
The holiday season has always held a special place in my heart. It’s a time for celebrating with friends and family, for gratitude and for timeless tradition. Therefore, you can imagine how thrilled I was about the holidays after my wife, Heather, gave birth to our first and only daughter. We’d begun planning which family traditions to pass on and thinking of new ones to incorporate into our family celebrations. We couldn’t have been more excited. Unfortunately, these plans were put on the back burner when, just three days before Thanksgiving, we were informed that my wife had cancer.
Our daughter, who we’d named Lily, was only three and a half months old at the time that Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Our focus switched from joyously anticipating the holiday season to battling a deadly disease inside of a single day. Anger and fear consumed me immediately. I knew that the odds weren’t good. I knew that I could end up losing my wife, going broke paying for cancer treatments and being left to raise our daughter on my own. I tried to stay positive, but somehow all I could picture was the worst-case scenario. That year, I felt that I had little to be thankful for.
Despite it all, we still had holiday celebrations, if you could call them that. My wife’s parents came to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with us before we left for Boston for her treatments. On Thanksgiving, we shared a meal together. Afterward, Heather’s parents sat with us to discuss how they would assist us during this crisis. I never wanted to have this conversation. It was the most horrible moment I recall from that time, after receiving Heather’s diagnosis.
We talked about our financial situation and Lily’s care. Heather’s parents told us which bills they could help with and advised us on which assets to liquidate to keep us from bankruptcy. Before the diagnosis, Heather and I both held jobs. However, with everything that was going on from the new baby to treatment and travel, our expenses soared and money was running out. I sat and listened to the discussion, overwhelmed by despair and anguish. It would years before I could look back on that conversation with anything but shame.
I later realized how mistaken I had been to view that day with such negativity. Years later, I now see how very much we had to be thankful for that year. We had a family willing to do whatever they could to help. They made incredible sacrifices to ensure our well-being. For years, stubborn pride and arrogance kept me from realizing this fact. This year, I intend to show gratitude for all that is good in my life, like the generosity and love of our friends and family. I also still have my beloved wife, who after intense mesothelioma surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, beat her cancer and has been able to celebrate seven Christmases and counting with our daughter. We hope that our story can shine as a beacon of hope for anyone else enduring cancer during the holidays this year.
If you would like to learn more about Mesothelioma, please visit the below website for more information.
Read more: http://www.mesothelioma.com/mesothelioma/