Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My mesothelioma journey

The following was sent to me by a courageous mom who wanted to share her message of hope.  
- Suzie Petunia

I still remember hearing for the first time that I had
cancer, malignant pleural mesothelioma. I was only 36 years
old, and I had just given birth three months earlier to my
one child, my only child. Is it any wonder that thoughts ran
through my head of giving up, or asking God, "why?" I could
have wallowed in self pity or cursed God's name on that day,
November 21, 2005. I had never expected such a diagnosis.
Because of my new daughter, this should have been the
happiest time of my life.

I couldn't quit; I was always the optimist. I couldn't curse
God or cry out and ask why. People say I always see through
rose colored glasses. I had to fight this disease head on,
had to fight as any new mother would. I had to fight for my
life, had to be there to raise my young daughter.

It is true cancer can be the worst thing that has ever
happened to someone, but many sufferers say it can be a
double-edged sword. It actually can be a good in some ways.
Actually my life is better, not worse, because I have
mesothelioma. It has been good because I choose not to be a

I decided instead of wallowing in self pity to help others. I
would make light of this situation. If I did not look on this
as dreadful, fear would evaporate. Because the first thing
people lose when they hear they have mesothelioma is hope, I
wanted to give that hope back to them.

Although my situation may have seemed dreadful, I determined
to find good in it. The world's leading specialist in
fighting mesothelioma was able to give me hope that I could

Even though mesothelioma treatment is not someting to make
light of, we had to find ways to keep our spirits up. My
tumor was no longer just a tumor, but Punxsutawney Phil,
because Groundhog’s Day in 2006 was the day it was to be
removed. Groundhog's Day was Lungleavin Day, named because
that's when my lung left. Every year we now celebrate
Lungleavin Day with a party, to celebrate life, to celebrate
conquering fear, to celebrate the good that came from a bad
situation. On a day that some might see as sad, we celebrate

If I had never had cancer I would never have met many of the

strong, amazing, wonder people I know. These are some of the
most passionate and tough people I’ve ever met. They also
have mesothelioma, and they are warriors. They want others to
know of the disease that many only know of from a commercial
on daytime TV. They are sons, daughters, wives and husbands,
my friends. I now have much more purpose in life in helping

-- Heather


Anonymous said...

You go girl...thanks!!!

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