Archive for February, 2013

Guest Post!

Hello Friends. I have been nonexistent from the blog world because, I guess, it just hasn’t been on the priority list. I still feel called to writing. I still enjoy it. I still have ambitions of writing a book this year that I have been consistently working on. But blogging, I guess other things ranked out.  

Even with that apparently google has my name on search and a new writing friend approached me about how he appreciated what was written during my 6 weeks of cancer cray and wanted to share, in as many outlets as possible, his story. Meet Cameron Von St. James


My Experience as a Cancer Caregiver

November 21, 2005, is a date that will never leave my mind. On this day, my wife Heather received the diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma, a rare and deadly type of cancer. It was also on this day that I became her caregiver, and I can’t say I was well-prepared to take on this position. Just three months earlier, our daughter and only child, Lily, came into the world, and we thought we would now be celebrating our first holiday season with our little one.  Life had other plans, though, and we shifted our focus to beating cancer.

Being a caregiver is not something that happened over time; it was a job that I started immediately. Our doctor explained the treatment options to us, and the best one was to go see Dr. Sugarbaker, a doctor who specializes in mesothelioma, in Boston. Upon hearing the choices, I could see that Heather was frozen with fear, and her eyes pleaded for help. I made the decision to go to Boston. While the fear would takeover from time to time, I would quickly fight through it, and I never let Heather see these moments of weakness. I simply had to be strong for her.

So many people gathered around us to show their support, whether it was in the form of kind words or financial help. We will never be able to completely thank all of those wonderful people. One of the best pieces of advice I can give to a caregiver is that you should always take help if someone offers it. These people care about you, and they are there to help you. I had to learn the hard way that there is no room for pride in a cancer battle.  Even the smallest offer of help can be a weight off your shoulders, and at the very least will remind you that you are not alone in the fight.

No doubt exists that being a caregiver for a person with cancer is tough, and it’s certainly going to be the most difficult endeavor in your life. Do not allow negative emotions to takeover, but do allow yourself some bad days.  This is inevitable and even necessary. The important thing is to always, always hold on to hope, and give the fight everything that you have.

After going through surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, my wife is now cancer free today.  She beat the odds and despite the troubling prognosis for mesothelioma, she was able to completely beat this terrible disease. It took years, but we eventually returned to a normal routine.

This situation taught me a lot about myself, too. I now know how precious life really is and how my stubbornness can be an advantage. Two years after Heather’s diagnosis, I returned to school full-time to study Information Technology and fulfill my dream of getting my college degree.

Learning to manage time and stress really prepared me to return to school. In fact, I graduated with high honors and was the student speaker at my graduation. My speech was about Heather’s diagnosis. I told my fellow graduates that I never would have imagined, just a few years before, that this is where I would be.  I told them that within each of us is the strength to accomplish impossible things, as long as we never give up hope, and always keep fighting.  Heather and Lily were in the audience to cheer me on, and that was the greatest reward of all.


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