the new face of mesothelioma cancer.

If you're only going to read one post this week, READ THIS. I like this blog to be a place that we as woman can be challenged and inspired. This story is one of heartbreak, but also one of courage and spirit. Heather's story has an important message that needs more awareness so tweet, share, tell your friends, anything that might help in the fight against this fatal disease. 

I remember hearing the words, but I didn’t believe them. The doctor couldn’t be saying those three dreaded words to me. I had a beautiful three-month baby girl waiting for me at home, so it wasn’t possible that I could have pleural mesothelioma cancer. Yet that’s what I was being told. Normally caused by asbestos exposure, I had no idea how I could have developed this fatal disease.

After much research and consideration, we determined that I was exposed through the asbestos my father unknowingly carried home on his work clothes. He spent the days working in the construction field, and the asbestos dust clung to his clothes, jacket and hair. When I hugged him at the end of the day, I was breathing that dust in. It was also spreading through the house as he walked, infecting the entire family.

Most asbestos victims are older men who have worked in the trades. However, their wives soon started falling victim to the illness. As I was exposed by breathing in the dust on my father’s clothes, many housewives had also been exposed as they kissed their husbands after work and washing those contaminated clothes.

Considering that, it’s no surprise that the children of those same workers are now being diagnosed with this deadly disease. I didn’t fit the profile of the typical mesothelioma patient, but I was the start of a distressing trend. More and more young men and women are developing mesothelioma after growing up inhaling the asbestos dust on their father’s clothes. Spending an afternoon with my dad after he’d been working all day sounded like a great idea at the time, but I was signing my own death warrant.

As I meet more people in the mesothelioma community, I am disturbed at how many of them are young men and women who have never worked in the trades. We don’t have the usual risk factors, but we’re suffering from this fatal illness. There are so many of us who are young professionals with babies to care for and our lives ahead of us. Unfortunately, that all comes to a screeching halt when we are told that we have this deadly disease. However, there is a silver lining in all of this misery. The good news is that medicine has come a long way, mesothelioma doctors are making great new discoveries, and more of us are surviving as a result.

It’s devastating to hear that you have cancer, and the fear can leave you paralyzed. However, I am hopeful that more of us can recover from mesothelioma. We have come together as a community so support each other and share our stories. We cry together when things don’t go well, and we celebrate when one of us survives.

People wonder why I share my story the way I do. I do this to raise awareness about this disease. I do it to teach people that there is no such thing as a “typical” victim, and I do it to try and help others. If my story can help someone who is diagnosed find a little comfort or learn to let go of the paralyzing fear, then I will have reached my goal.

Want to read more about Heather and her story? You can check out her blog here.


drinkcitra said...

Aw thanks for sharing Helen's story here <3
Much love to you, Helen!

Kim @ 2justByou said...

Helen's story is important. Cancer is no fun, no matter what form of cancer it is. And Helen is right, there is no "typical" victim. And by her sharing her story with us, she is showing strength & hope beyond what she knows.
Thanks for the post. =)