Message of Hope: Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Survivor


Heather contacted me hoping to share her message of hope in time for Asbestos Awareness Week, April 1-7.  I asked her to fill out the hope. wish. dream. be template. Even though she is not a brain tumor survivor, she is a survivor. She is a malignant pleural mesothelioma survivor.  In fact, I’d like to open the hope. wish. dream. be. interview template up to anyone who considers himself/herself a survivor. Please contact me if you are interested in sharing your story. You can email me at memomuse@gmail.com.

Heather is a cancer survivor and thriver.  If you have questions for her, please post them in the comments. I would like to have a part 2 post with Heather where she answers your questions.

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Below are Heather’s answers:

Do you follow “Brain Tumor Thursday”? You could fill out the template…

Such a great and inspirational idea!! I love it!

I hope…for a long and fulfilling life. I feel like most days I’m here, that I am supposed to fill a greater purpose. I am so thankful to just be alive, and I hope to be here for a very long time. I want so much to be with my daughter as she grows up, see her go to her first school dance, her first concert, graduate from High School and go to college. I want grand kids someday!

I wish…for my daughter to grow into whatever she aspires to be in life. I wish for her to have the confidence to achieve whatever she puts her mind to. To have that self confidence to not let people get her down, and to strive to do anything she wants. One caveat, I pray it is legal and moral!

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I dream…of a cure for cancer. Not just ONE cancer, ALL cancer. I’ve witnessed what it does to families, emotionally, financially. I lost my own dad to renal carcinoma. I’m still reeling from his loss. This one is personal, I wish I never had to worry about cancer again.

I am (be)…stronger than I thought I ever could be. 10 years ago, if someone asked me if I thought I would be able to go through what I did, I would have said no way. I was always in awe of people who fought illness with such grace and quiet dignity. In my career, I had quite a few cancer survivors as clients. I was honored to shave their heads for them when chemo caused their hair loss. I was with them through the awkward stages as the hair grew back totally different than the hair they lost. I was always so blown away by their strength. Little did I know, I would be in the same spot in a few years. I did what had to do to survive. Anyone would do the same.

Then two things about yourself.

Just two?

I’m a malignant pleural mesothelioma survivor — a cancer almost always caused by asbestos exposure. I’ve outlived my original life expectancy by more than 7 years.

Thank you Heather for sharing your story. You are certainly a survivor and thriver!  Thank you for sharing your message of hope.

If you have questions for Heather, please put them in the comments. She can answer them directly in the comments or we can have her guest post again and share her answers. I would like to know if you were exposed to asbestos and where?

You can find the answer to my question below. I am including Heather’s initial email to me. Sorry I didn’t get it posted during Asbestos Awareness Week. Her story is very interesting. Please take the time to read what she wrote below.

Hi Megan!

Thanks for responding to my comment! I’m reaching out to you today in hopes that you will help me with a cause that is very near and dear to my heart. At age 36, I was diagnosed with mesothelioma just 3 ½ months after my first and only child, Lily, was born. I was given just 15 months to live unless I underwent a drastic surgery to remove my left lung. Miraculously, I beat the odds and I’m still here eight years later.

Asbestos is not banned in the US, yet it’s the only known cause of mesothelioma. I was exposed to asbestos through my fathers work jacket when I was just a little girl; my diagnosis came about 30 years later. Once diagnosed, most patients die within 2 years. I am one of few survivors who openly share their story and work to spread awareness regarding the dangers of asbestos.

In honor of Asbestos Awareness Week (April 1-7), I created a webpage dedicated to raising awareness. Although this week has passed, I would love it if you would be willing to share it on your blog to help educate and protect your readers from this preventable disease!

Here’s the link to my awareness page: mesothelioma.com/heather/awareness

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