Sunday, February 2, 2014

It's Lung Leavin' Day!

As I held my baby girl in my arms and nursed her, my mind raced.  Why did the receptionist bring me to this room?  Was there a specific reason that she brought me into this room instead of the normal examination room?  I looked at the large round conference table and plush upholstered chairs and felt sick to my stomach.   Maybe this room, with it's comfortable seating, is where they lay it it all out on that table for a serious conversation.  The conversation that no one wants to be the subject of; the conversation about cancer.

Before becoming pregnant with my daughter, I underwent several procedures at the colposcopy clinic at the hospital.  That is where I had a biopsy (tissue sample) taken of my cervix after having an abnormal PAP.  It is also where I had the simple day surgery to remove the high-grade abnormality that they had found.  More tests after that procedure were still showing abnormal cells.  And then I became pregnant.  We couldn't really do anything more until after the baby was born.

So, here I was sitting in this strange room, nursing my little girl, and waiting to hear the results of the latest test.  My husband was in the waiting room, keeping our little boy occupied with toys and snacks.  What if the news was bad?  If it was, how would I tell my family?  What sort of treatment options would I have to consider?  So many questions swirled around in my head, it seemed the room was spinning.  Through it all, I thought of my young children and how I wanted to be there for them as they grew up; as I sat there, I prayed that I would.




When the doctor finally came into that room and told me that my test results were normal I felt relieved.  I also felt a little bit silly for working myself up into such a panic over nothing.  All because I was waiting in a different room.  However, many other people aren't so lucky.  Many other people have their whole world turned completely upside down in rooms just like that one.  People like:

My amazing friend Doris!  Who writes about her journey on her blog Cure Me - Pure Me

My Mom's late husband, who my children know as "Grandpa Sam".

And Heather Von St. James, whose story inspired this post...


Eight years ago, Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma; a rare cancer that kills most people within 2 years of diagnosis.  She had just given birth to her daughter Lily, and was only given 15 months to live.  After surgery that included the removal of her left lung, Heather and her family created Lung Leavin’ Day. 
The purpose of LungLeavin’ Day is to encourage others to face their fears.  Each year, the Von St. James family and friends gather around a backyard fire.  They write their biggest fears on a plate and smash them into the fire.  This will be the 8th year that they celebrate!
This year, Heather and her husband Cameron are asking bloggers to participate and spread the word about Lung Leavin’ Day.  I was so honoured to receive an email about their inspiring story and the webpage mesothelioma.com/heather/lungleavinday that they have created.
I highly urge you to check it out and watch the video of Heather's story, which can be found here. It is an incredible story of hope and beating the odds!  One thing that really struck a chord with me was when Heather said, "I've been accused my whole life of wearing rose coloured glasses and seeing life very optimistically... and I have no intention of ever taking them off."  What a beautiful perspective to have on life!
Let's all celebrate Lung Leavin' Day day this year.  It is a celebration in remembrance of those who are no longer with us; it is a celebration for those who continue to fight; it is for those who are currently going through a tough time in their life; and most importantly, it is to celebrate life!


So, what are you afraid of?  What is your biggest fear?  What would you write on your plate?


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