Saturday, December 1, 2012

#GuestPost #Coping with #Cancer

Today's post was sent to me by Heather, who reached out to me as a reader interested in sharing her story. I am happy to help her reach out to others who might be facing cancer as a new parent.

Coping With Cancer at 36

I knew that something was wrong. I was always tired after giving birth four months before, but I was still shocked when my doctor looked straight at me and told me that I had cancer. More precisely, he was telling me that I had pleural mesothelioma cancer, which is typically caused by asbestos.

When I tell people about my experience, I always get two questions. First, they want to know if asbestos is banned, and second, they want to know how I was exposed. The first answer is easy. Asbestos is actually not banned at all. The second question is more complicated; essentially, my father exposed me to this substance. He worked in construction, and he did plenty of drywall installation, mudding and sanding. The dust that fell down on him was full of tiny asbestos fibers, and that was in turn caught in his clothing, in his car, and on his work clothes! Whenever I went to hug him, I was being exposed to something quite dangerous.

When I was diagnosed, being 36 with mesothelioma was almost unheard of. The type of person who got this disease was typically an older man who worked with his hands. It was common for the sufferers to be plumbers, electricians, military men and mechanics. Young mothers were new. However, I was just the start of a heartbreaking trend. There were more and more young mothers who were being diagnosed, and young wives as well.

It make sense, and this second wave of sufferers are typically known to have received their exposure through secondary exposure. Children are being diagnosed, and it is too easy to imagine those kids jumping up on their fathers when they come home from work, putting on their jackets to run outside for just a little bit. In the course of doing household chores, anyone in the family can be exposed to those little white asbestos fibers. As I get more and more involved in the mesothelioma community, I see men and women who are just like me. They are young, they are just getting their jobs off the ground and they are starting their families. All of this is brought to a screeching halt when they receive their diagnosis. However, there is more hope as well. We’re seeing more survivors of all ages

The truth of the matter is that cancer is rough. It brings your life to a halt, and it does put you in danger. However, instead of being scared or being upset, I have decided that I want to try hope. It helps me talk with other people, and as time goes on, I realize that hope is contagious!

I am positive about my diagnosis and about my story. I want to see more awareness for this type of cancer, and I want to give hope to those who need it. I am ready to help other people stop living in darkness. This is now my life, and I have decided to make it help others in their time of need.


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