Tag Archives: family

Guest Blog: The Lessons I Learned From My Wife Having Cancer

Today’s blog comes from guest blogger Cameron Von St. James. Cameron writes on the lessons he learned while his wife battled cancer. Yes. I said battled. She won. She kicked cancer to the curb 7 years ago and told it never to return.


The Lessons I Learned From My Wife Having Cancer

November 21, 2005 was the day when my wife, Heather, was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. I was devastated, but I had no choice but to step up and be my wife’s caregiver. Just three months earlier, Heather had given birth to our first and only child, our daughter Lily. Instead of celebrating her first holiday season, we were beginning a long, difficult journey to beat cancer.

Heather couldn’t work after she was diagnosed, and I had to scale back to part time. I had many responsibilities that wouldn’t allow me to keep a full time job. I had to make my wife’s doctor’s appointments. I had to take care of my daughter, and I had to make travel arrangements to Boston, where Heather would receive treatment from a renowned mesothelioma specialist. I was overwhelmed with my responsibilities, and despite my best efforts to remain positive, sometimes my fears got the best of me. I couldn’t help but picture the worst-case scenario, my wife dying and me being left alone and broke to raise a daughter who would never know her mother. There were many days that I felt I couldn’t go on.

It is difficult to cope with cancer without a support group of friends, family, and strangers. These people provided financial assistance and comforting words to help us get through the tough times. My strongest advice to any caregiver or cancer patient is to accept every offer of help and support that comes your way. I had to learn the hard way that there is no room for pride in a cancer fight. Even the smallest offer of help can be a weight off your shoulders, and will remind you that you are not alone in the fight.

Being a caregiver is difficult, there is no getting around that. It’s a job that you cannot walk away from. To get through it with your sanity, use all the resources available to you, and it will be easier. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Allow yourself to have bad days, but above all else, never give up hope for a better tomorrow.

After Heather received mesothelioma chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, we started the process of recovery. Against all odds, she beat this terrible disease, and has been without cancer for seven years now. We hope that our story of success in the face of cancer can help inspire others currently struggling through their own cancer battles. Never give up hope, and never stop fighting for the ones you love.

You can read more of Cameron’s posts at http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/cameron/


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Today is a good day!

It’s been quite some time since I have blogged, but not a lot has happened over the past couple months. After the death of my Grandfather and immersing myself into the big quilt project, I found myself rather exhausted and holding in my grief. I decided to take a break from big sewing projects and blogging and just try to relax. Hah! Me relaxing. Funny! It didn’t work.

I have been working on a couple small projects though. I have almost FMQ’d my quilt and I have been making a kitty couch for my mom’s cat Buster. He is a Maine Coon weighing 25ish pounds and approximately 42″ long. He needs his own couch! I have also wanted to make my Grandmother a memory quilt with photos of her and my Grandfather, but I have realized that although I may want to make it, I am not ready to make it. Just writing this makes my eyes fill with tears.

Work is work and I am finally realizing with the help of a great friend Donna W. that there are things that I cannot change no matter what. She has helped give me tools and tips to make my days more productive, organized and less stressful for me and how to not stress over things that are not my responsibility. Heck, accounting duties are a full-time job in itself so why freak out about everything else?

I want to thank my friends over at BEEGRAZIANI and Wedding Dress Blue for emailing me to find out where I have been and for keeping me in their thoughts over the past little while. And my friends at Huckabee’s Place–you know who you are! And not to forget my Mom and Dad. Even from a distance they are always by my side. And last, but not least, the MR. My hubby. You are my rock. Thank you for just being there. I love you!

I have always been the strong on the outside and bottle it up on the inside kind of person. Who knew it would lead to feelings of exhaustion! I have been going to bed earlier. I try to make it to the gym but that doesn’t always happen! And I practice yoga breathing multiple times a day. Admitting I can’t always be the strong one has been hard for me and I still struggle with it. I am like my mother that way who is also like her mother. I come by it honestly. I am not Catholic, nor do I practice religion although I do have my beliefs and respect those beliefs of others, but I am participating in my own kind of Lent this year. I am giving up my “I am strong and suffer in silence” ways and I will ask for help. I will admit when I am defeated. I will openly feel emotions. I will grieve.

My goal for the next 39 days is to document how I feel in my blogs. They might be long-winded. They might be short. They will be my emotions at the time of writing. They may also include sewing projects.

Today is a good day. I went for 2 walks, did not need a nap to make it through the day and I have cried. I feel happy and am surrounded by love and my sewing machine is calling me and so is a piece of chocolate cake!

Day # 1 of 39

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They are finally engaged!!

It finally happened! My brother finally took the plunge and proposed today to his girlfriend of 7 years and of course she said YES!

I have known about it since the day he put the deposit on the diamond. He called me all excited and emailed me a picture. It was a beautiful rock, but only a rock 2 months ago waiting to be set in its ring.

We discussed a few ideas in how to do it – like I know being common-law for 11 years and all – and forbade him from dropping the ring in a flute of champagne. That is so 80’s and not her!

He then phoned me about 2 weeks ago saying he finished paying for it and had picked up the ring and was going to propose today while on vacation in cottage country with the assistance of the resort they are staying at.

I don’t know all the details other than she cried and said YES and was surprised he could keep a secret and sent me a text message at 4:46 telling me all this!

The funniest thing about this is at Easter dinner my 80 year old grandfather was chiding my brother about getting married already and little did anyone know but me and the MR. that the plan was already in motion!

Congratulations to my dear brother and sister-in-law (to be). I love you both very much and am super happy for you. Hey! Do you remember those days as kids where I used to tell you I always wanted a sister? You’re in the process of making it happen!

I think I smell a new quilt in the air.


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My Inspiration

Many people have asked my why I chose “Inspired” as the name for my sewing adventure. I chose it because I am inspired.

As I am standing on the platform waiting for my train to pull in, I am surrounded by the songs of the red wing black birds that are playing in the dense overgrowth alongside the tracks. I watch them zoom up and down chasing each other and this brings tranquility to my morning.

Walking out of my house this morning, I was greeted by the first blooms in my front garden. The purple iris smells like Welsh’s grape juice. This brings back a memory of when I was a child and my mom asking me if I wanted some juice. Amazing that the scent of a flower is a trigger to a long forgotten memory.  Nature and my garden inspire me and gives me peace.


My friend Stacy is an inspiration. She is making a living at her sewing and is always offering bits of advise and encouragement to keep me going.

Fabric inspires me.  I see a design and then get a completed image in my brain and I have to purchase it.

Strong women inspire me. Not physical strength, but strength to do what they want and what they need to do. Strong emotionally and mentally even if they were not always that way.  Women who will stand up for themselves and for what is right inspire me.

And most importantly, the MR. and rest of my family inspire me.  Without their belief in me and constant encouragement, I would not be where I am or who I am now.  I love you all so very much.

I am looking forward to my next sewing adventure.  Oddly enough, that is inspiring in its self.

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