Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mesothelioma Cancer Awareness Day

Hello loved ones,
I have been contacted by Emily Walsh, the Community Outreach Director for a cancer organization known as the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.  Today is Mesothelioma Cancer Awareness Day and sadly, I was unaware of this type of cancer before being contacted by Emily.  With families each day learning heart wrenching news that cancer has entered their lives in one way or another or are celebrating the defeat of the horrible disease, I felt this blog was a great way to raise awareness to a type of cancer that is all around us but little known.  If you could take a minute to read the attached blog to educate yourself and your loved ones about the 8 things you should know about Mesothelioma and spread the word, it would be a wonderful gesture and push to help those who are in need.

As always....
Peace & Love,


8 Things You Should Know About Mesothelioma

8 Facts About MesotheliomaMesothelioma -- a long word you may have heard on a commercial or two, but do you know what it means? This rare and deadly cancer is sadly lacking awareness. In honor of Mesothelioma Awareness Day this September 26, read on for the top 8 things you don’t know about this cancer, but should. Then share them. The key to saving lives starts with education.

1. Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is invisible to the naked eye. Once inhaled, these fibers may infect the protective lining of the lungs, abdominal cavity, or cardiac cavity.
2. No amount of exposure is safe. Just exposing yourself once could put you at risk for developing the disease later on in life. If you were exposed today, you may not be aware until 2043, as the average latency period is about 30 – 40 years.
3. Asbestos was once used in more than 3,000 consumer products. These include household items, some of which may still be in use. Some of these even include hair dryers, crock pots, and cigarette filters.
4. It can be found in many older homes, schools, factories, and commercial buildings. Homes built prior to the 1970’s, along with a myriad of public buildings still could potentially contain asbestos because of the materials used in the original construction.
5. Asbestos exposure is still the LEADING CAUSE of occupational cancer in the US. Even after 30 years since the United States government issued stern warnings about the continued use of asbestos, many workers who were once exposed are now at risk of developing the disease.
6. United States Veterans are at the greatest risk. For many years, asbestos was used across all branches of the military. Many veterans and shipyard workers were exposed to high levels of asbestos from several different applications. US Navy veterans who served during World War II and the Korean Conflict unfortunately have the highest incidences of asbestos related disease, including mesothelioma.
7. Asbestos is still not banned in the US. Federal law requires the newly manufactured products contain no more than 1% asbestos. Although its use is regulated, roughly 30 million pounds are still being used each year.
8. Mesothelioma can be caused by secondary exposure. Family members of those who were directly affected by on-the-job asbestos exposure may also at risk of developing mesothelioma.
Want to do something to help this Mesothelioma Awareness Day? Our friend and 7 year survivor, Heather Von St. James, needs your help. Check out her campaign and share her message to help educate and save lives. Be a voice for the victims.

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Saturday, March 2, 2013

For Lansing

I wrote this to you when you were just 9 weeks old.  Today you are 7 months.

My sweet boy Lansing,
I have to tell you that you have only been in my life for 9 weeks but you have made me and your daddy the happiest two people in the world.  You literally made me see the beauty in every aspect of life.  Your smile lights up my world!  Every little sound you make, whether it's puckering your little lips, sneezing, or cooing, I can't get enough.  When you fall asleep on my chest, I stay as still as possible hoping you'll want to stay in that position forever.  I never thought I'd get to have this experience with you and now all I think about is that I get to spend every day with you for the rest of my life and it puts the biggest smile on my face and makes my heart skip a beat.  I truly believe you saved my life.  You are so incredibly strong and you have no idea yet, but what you had to endure while in the womb, no baby should have to go through.  But somehow, you arrived save and sound, and happy.  I'm so thankful for you and love you more than there are words.  You are my little angel.

Cancer-free! Ring in the New Year!

I just found this post that I had saved as a draft several months's very late but definitely need to send the love, so here it is.  

Hi there,
Baby Lansing you are almost 5 months are getting so big.  You grew 4 inches in just 2 months! You went from the 37th percentile in height to 79th percentile in height in just 2 months.  I know this isn't important to you, but for your mommy, this is HUGE, exhilarating news!  You are so big, strong and HAPPY that it makes my heart soar.  I'm ever so grateful to have you in my life.  I never could have imagined of having a love so strong and to be so thankful for someone...I still have to pinch myself that we made it to this point.

As for the other aspects of my life, it's that time of year that we all feel the need to express our gratitude, but this year more than ever before I have to extend my thankfulness to all my family and friends that carried me through the last 8 months.  I'm getting excited for 2013, I'm looking at it as a total new beginning for myself.  Thank you to each of you special, lovely loved ones that stood by me through thick and thin.  Trust me, I'm over this whole thing, I know you have to be thank you for always sending that text message, leaving that voicemail, sending that dinner, and most importantly for your time to just sit with me and talk.  I'll never, ever forget any of it.  THANK YOU!

It's been a long time since I've been on here, but it's been a month since I've had my double mastectomy.  It's not something that I thought I wanted to share with the "world" per say, but again, this is for my son and if I can help another person, this is my purpose....The fantastic news is that I had what they call a "complete response" to the chemotherapy...therefore, once the tissue was removed, the tumor was hardly noticeable and the lymph nodes removed were clean! I'm officially cancer free my friends!  Obviously, this is the most wonderful news in the world, but I'll be honest with the fact that I EXPECTED those while sedated in the hospital room and my doctor calling me to wish me a happy thanksgiving with the delightful news, I didn't feel that sense of relief I think my husband and parents felt because I KNEW this was what was supposed to happen...otherwise, what was this hell for?  I just want to say, yet again, that taking health for granted at such a young age is something I would have never understood prior to this experience.  I was gifted with about 10 days of feeling strong enough to carry my son and go to the grocery store, get coffee with a friend, or take a walk if I wanted to...something I haven't been able to do in the first 3 & 1/2 months of his life and then to have a surgery that incapacitated me in the sense that I couldn't even hold my child for 3 weeks was the most devastating thing I'll ever, ever experience.  I think I'm finally dealing with the realness of this situation and that I am a cancer patient.  For so long, I focused on my child...please protect my son, etc., etc., it's all about ME! I don't deal well with that.  Anyhow, I'm passed the hump and seeing the light each day. This was my first week back to being full-time mommy...I'm doing more and trying to get into a routine with Lansing, but we must improvise because I'm right handed and that's the side where the surgery was most invasive.  So by the time 5pm hits, I'm counting the minutes until my husband gets home to relieve me...I'm usually strained and swollen by that point and just resting up for nightly duties.  Any new mom will tell you that as soon as you think you have your babe figured out, they change.  But to have to struggle to keep up physically is a whole new dynamic I wasn't anticipating.  All in all, just grateful for the experience. If it wasn't for this crappy cancer, I wouldn't be home with my beautiful son to watch him grow each day.  There aren't only downsides to this disease (at least that's what I tell myself).

My biggest concern throughout this process is to REMEMBER...simply remember and never take a single moment for granted.  Life is seriously too short...keep your heads held high, be confident and follow that dream that you aren't letting yourself follow.  I'm going to promise to do the same.  Merry Christmas to everyone and thank you for all your love and support...I wouldn't have made it to this point without you....I mean that.

Peace & love,
First Halloween!

4 Months old!!