How Will I Live?

 July 8, 2011

For the record, I don't personally know Jamie.  I was asked if I would be willing to let her write a guest post on the subject of mesothelioma. This is a personal blog, an adoption blog:  I do not write about cancer.  And she had no way of knowing that my grandfather, a larger than life, teddy bear of a man, died of mesothelioma.

Guest Post By: Jackie Clark

News of your impending death is a heart breaking revelation that is extremely stressful. For a young mother on the threshold of parenthood, eagerly planning the kind of life she herself never had for her child, news of a terminal illness is devastating. Even though every sickness is not unto death, a young mother who faces the challenges of that possible separation learns early on that her nurturing and parenting skills take on an urgency that is different from those who appear to be in the picture of health. The interesting thing about that difference is that it's the very thing that will enable her to live. This yearning to watch my child grow created a fight in me that could not be beaten.

For those who might not know, mesothelioma is an aggressive form of cancer that develops in the protective lining of the stomach, lungs, and or the cavity around the heart. Because the disease is asymptomatic, early diagnosis is difficult. This allows the disease to thrive; its long latency period keeps it from being detected until it is in the advanced stages. Mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos and inhalation of asbestos particles. Although it has no known cure, surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation offer curative or palliative treatments designed to extend life, alleviate pain, and increase the mesothelioma life expectancy. For me these treatments have co-in sided with my fight. I have beaten the odds; I am a mesothelioma survivor.

As a young mother with mesothelioma, you can still be a great mother. You will have to plant things in your young children that someone else may have to water and harvest, but your awareness of this lets you plan and make quality decisions for your child's life and future. You can decide how you want to be remembered; you can plan memorable activities and events for the two of you; you can keep a journal or write stories telling your children about you and your dreams for them. The little things that you do now will make a mark on your child's heart that cannot be erased.

Mesothelioma is a killer, but it doesn’t have to completely destroy you. Despite the prognosis you hold the keys to how you live your life and raise your children. When you face death through mesothelioma, it can be on your own terms. You've found a way to live.

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