Tag Archives: mental-health

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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Frustration and More Frustration


I haven’t kept up. I know this is partly due to laziness and my own reluctance to dive into my thoughts and feelings on a daily basis. Generally, mentally, I am a positive person and I tend to always look on the bright side of things. Emotionally, I tend to be along the same way more often then not. Physically, well, since the car accident just shy of 2 years ago, I have been full of aches and pains that I cannot explain and this frustrates the crap out of me.

I went through 9 months of physiotherapy and 5 months of massage therapy for the lower back and severe whiplash injuries I sustained from being rear-ended. And I rarely experience symptoms related to this ingury (YAY)! I also practiced yoga for a time but due to the economy, I can no longer afford the $150/month membership that my work graciously compensated me for an entire year. I do however, have a gym membership and my gym bag is collecting dust…

I had to stop yoga aside from the costs. I have developed a pain in my wrist quite severe that lasts for days when I over use it or apply weight to it. X-rays have been taken and results will be found out early April. As well, I have a pain in my shoulder that makes lifting anything over 10-15 lbs impossible without a sharp stabbing and burning pain. This is also the same arm as the wrist and happens to be my dominant arm. I question this pain a lot. Is it carpal tunnel, repetitive strain injury, damage to my rotator cuff, fibromyalgia? Are they releated or completely seperate pains. What are they caused by? The wrist, I have had issues with since a teenager on and off. The shoulder, well, this is new and it considerably limits what I can do in the gym.

I am also tired quite a lot. Blood tests showed by B12 was considerably low. I began taking B12 injections and although they helped, they did not help as much as I wanted. People tell me I have too much stress in my life and that I take on too much. I don’t feel stressed out all the time but perhaps my body is handing it in a different way and making me tired and achy. I have cried in these past 12 days though and I feel relief after. I am trying not to push my feelings deep down inside me. I have cried for my Grandfathers passing. I know I will never be done crying for him, but each time I do cry, a new memory pops up and makes me smile. I had 37 years with my Opa. That in itself is a blessing. I am one of the lucky ones to have had him for so long in my life.

Today I am tired mentally, emotionally and physically though. I am fed up of the aches and pain. The internet is a wonderful and terrible place at the same time. You can research your symptoms and end up with 30 different diseases. Thankfully, I see my GP in a month and can get a more educated guess of what is causing all of this and what I can do to help the process.

So, day 12 brings many different frustrations my way. Many would give up but that is not an option I would ever consider. I will get through this and be even stronger for doing it. It’s just a matter of determining the underlying cause and tackling it head on.

Day 12 of 39

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Filed under My 39 days of feeling