Sometimes life kicks you right in the poodle.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Heather Von St. James


I forgot how to blog.

THIS, my friends, is a pathetic moment in my life.  Yes, I actually forgot how to log in to my freaking blog.  I actually had to have an email SENT TO MYSELF, to remind ME how to ACCESS MY OWN DAMN BLOG, because APPARENTLY I HAVEN'T BEEN HERE IN FOREVER, and in the meantime, my brain has fallen out.


Okay, well, fuck that.  I'm here now, and it's nice in here.  There are no socks on the floor, and it has a virtual desk, with a virtual picture of me typing away at my computer on it.  The furniture has flowers on it, and there are nice paintings on the walls, and there's this view of this incredible garden that always gets weeded.

It's pretty dusty in here though, and the window hasn't been open in a really long time.

Well, maybe it's time to fix that.  See, this isn't all just pointless rambling, there's actually a point, and I'm getting to it.  Recently, in the spam folder of my email, I discovered there were two emails from a (spammer, spambot, potential dude from a faraway place trying to sell me Viagra) woman named Heather Von St. James.  I sighed for a second, because damn but I get a lot of spam, and I opened it to check it out.  Inside I found a message from Heather, cheerfully asking if I might be able to help her.  I've never met her, so I did the ultra modern thing first and I googled her.


So my page flooded with all kinds of links to not only a real person, but a lady who had beat the odds and survived a disease most of us have heard is nothing short of a death sentence:


Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of cancer that develops from the cells of the mesothelium, which is the protective lining that covers many of the body's internal organs.  It is most commonly caused by exposure to ASBESTOS fibres.  In case you were unaware, most old buildings; houses, schools, you name it, were insulated with that stuff.  Typically suffered by miners, or construction workers, for example, exposure could be as simple as washing the clothing of a person infected, or, in Heather's case, wearing her father's jacket, as a child, which had been covered with "dust."

Because you see, that's the sneaky thing about Mesothelioma:  symptoms may not appear for twenty to fifty years after you've been exposed.  Even with treatment, most patients don't survive a year after diagnosis.

Heather found out she had Mesothelioma in 2005, when she was just 36, just three months after giving birth to her daughter.  I can't even begin to imagine what that must have been like. She survived, and 9 years later, she is a tireless advocate for research and funding.

And so, my point, AT LAST, is this; I had become extremely cynical.  My own mother died from lung cancer two weeks after diagnosis.  My father died from motor neuron disease four years later.  I have stopped believing in miracles, and any hope that might exist in modern medicine, and then I received an email from a striking woman who kicked cancer's fucking ass, despite tremendous odds.  A woman who I would have read about, years ago, felt horrified and decided that since she had Mesothelioma:  she would most likely die.

And she didn't.

Take that, cynical, jaded karen.

And that is why I decided to write a little bit for Heather, in hopes that it might help someone, and inspire someone, and lead them to a woman with great drive, passion, and a wealth of information.

On Friday September 25, 2015 there will be a Mesothelioma Awareness Day "Tweet Chat" at 1:00 PM in advance of the day itself, September 26.

If you would like to read more about Heather Von St. James, you can click HERE 

For more information on Mesothelioma, click HERE 

For information on treatment of Mesothelioma, click HERE 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

One Day At A Time...I guess

I don't always realise that I'm really pretty fucking wrecked since my dad died.  It should be so obvious.  It's like, my parents dying horribly should be the giant elephant in the room. My mom first, and then my dad  almost four years later.  Four years of stress.  OBVIOUS.  But it slips in and out of sight.


Nobody else is thinking about it?  The world hasn't stopped moving?  Nobody really asks "so how ya doing these days?"  And why would they?  I'm still here.  I'm still cracking jokes (less, I think).  I'm still getting the bulk of the laundry done (it takes a really long goddamn time), I wash my hair, I shave my legs every day.  I go for POWER WALKS.  Anyone who goes for POWER WALKS is functioning just fine.

But then something comes up, like a doctor's appointment.  Something out of the NORM.  Maybe one of the kids has an appointment.  Maybe one of the kids is COUGHING in the night.  And that's it--it's back to waking up with the racing pulse and that feeling that doom is right around the corner.  Or maybe it's that library book that I could not return; Lauren Bacall telling about her romance with Humphrey Bogart.  As if I could even make it to the part where Bogey finds out he has cancer and begins to wither away painfully.  Overdue book.  Overdue fine growing by the day.  I could not just throw that damn thing through the slot.  I could not go ONLINE to renew it.  I'm on my laptop all the time, but I could not do it.  In another era, I'd explain this by saying; "I don't know, man--I just CAN'T DEAL."

It's being really busy most days and then that day arrives that I now know as the "useless" day.  That's the day that I'm having a BIG nap and the rest of the day I'm sitting on the couch, next to the cat, with my laptop atop my lap (heh), and I'm unscrambling words, and reading bland celebrity news.  And that's all I'm doing.  But it's quiet and civilized, and there's no weeping and wailing.  Why, I'm really no trouble at all.

Mostly I harden my heart.  I echo my mother:  of course it's hard, so what are you going to do?  This means, I just keep moving forward. Always forward.  But then a holiday rolls around, like Thanksgiving.  I had a great time..ate way too much, et cetera, et cetera.  But after dinner, an image shot into my head of my dad sitting in the rocking chair last Thanksgiving, with his breathing machine on, me standing beside him, holding his cold, withered hand.  I could not stop thinking about that hand.

And on one hand, I say; "why am I so sad?"  And then my brain says; "uh, duh--it's only been seven months. You loved someone for forty plus years.  You'e allowed to miss them.

I'd tell that to anyone.  There'd be no question about it. Why is it so hard to tell yourself?  Why am I so sad?  I'm wearing fresh, clean clothes.  Aren't I supposed to be unable to get out of bed if I'm so sad?

Apparently not.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

This morning, right before I woke up, I had a very vivid dream.  My Mom was there, and she was putting on this two piece skirt/blouse outfit that had flowers on it.  She looked wonderful, and she was healthy.  No crippled arthritic body.  In the dream, her stomach was exposed from between the low skirt and the blouse and I said; "Mom, you're showing a lot of skin though."  She laughed and said; "now it's like YOU'RE the MOM and I'M the CHILD."

I felt so relieved in the dream, because she was in remission from ALS, even though it was ALS that took my dad.  I was so happy she was there, and that she was healthy and happy and beautiful.

Facebook is full of good wishes for Mother's Day.  It's filled with women sharing pictures of them with their own mothers, so much so that it was causing me great pangs of the heart.  Do you know that feeling?  Surely this is whence the expression "heartache" is derived.  In fact, it was causing me such pain that last night I thought, yup, that's it.  I'm just going to avoid Facebook tomorrow until Mother's Day is over. In four years, this day is still a reminder of how much I miss her.

I got up, got washed.  I hugged my own children.  I love them very much.  I put on my workout clothes, laced up my big girl shoes, put on my shades, put that idiot new fangled cell phone in my little purse, queued up my ipod and headed out the door, bright and early, just the way I like.

Today there is not a cloud in the sky.  I walked along feeling good.  No matter what self doubts I often grapple with, I am strong.  I am healthy.  When the mood strikes me, I can pick up my feet and fly down that sidewalk.  I feel unstoppable.  I no longer have anyone to make little amateurish cards for, bestow hanging baskets of flowers upon, share slightly awkward hugs with, but I can be the receiver of those hand-made paper treasures, and I can receive and give heart-strong embraces, and when the mood strikes me I can pick up my feet and fly down that sidewalk, carrying all the love and hope I have for my children, and my Mom with me every step of the way.


Related Posts with Thumbnails