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With a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction degree (Goucher College, August 2014), I am looking at a new phase in my life. From 1992 to 2009, I served as Founding Executive Director of Miriam's House, a residence for homeless women living with AIDS. I left this position when Chronic Migraine Disease overtook my ability to do my job. Now I hope that a writing career will both accommodate the migraines and give me a creative, productive outlet. And soon, September 4, I will launch my Inkshares author page in a bid to hit the 1,000 pre-order goal in 90  days. The book I want to publish is "Nowhere Else I Want to Be," a memoir of ten of my years at Miriam's House.

22 January 2015

How One Woman Faces Her Fears -- Lung Leavin' Day 2015

My blog has come to the attention of Cameron and Heather von St. James, whose cause is a cancer caused by asbestos: mesothelioma. Today's post supports their cause.

Heather von St James was diagnosed with pleural (lining of the lung) mesothelioma just after she gave birth to their daughter in 2005. She was given fifteen months to live. Among other treatments for the cancer, she had a lung removed. Her sister dubbed the day of that surgery, Lung Leavin' Day. This year, Heather, Cameron, their daughter, Lily Rose, and numerous family and friends will gather for their ninth annual Lung Leavin' Day celebration. On February 2, 2015, they will participate in a ritual of writing their fears on plates then smashing the plates into a bonfire.

Heather has survived a prognosis of fifteen months by seven-and-a-half years. During those years, she and Cameron have created an informative website/blog about mesothelioma, its causes and treatments. The blog aims to support caregivers and persons with cancer of all forms.

Some great posts:
     Four Tips for Caregivers During the Chaos of Diagnosis
     Cancer and Perspective: Hindsight is 20/20
     The Importance of Support for Cancer patients

I love the idea of writing our fears on a plate and then smashing it into a fire. It makes me wonder: what fears would I choose for the ritual if I were there?

Photo from freedigitalphoto.net
I'd write about the fear I have for a person beloved to me who had a bilateral mastectomy, and for others struggling with mental illness and/or addictions. For myself, I'd cast into the flames a fear I have that the migraines won't ever go away. Though my spiritual journey these past twenty years has been one of gaining peace and relinquishing fear, I have to admit that I'm not completely fear-free. I also know that if a friend or family member were to be diagnosed with cancer, fear would invade my peace and I would have to deal with it.

This ritual of smashing our fear into flames is wonderfully symbolic of what determination it takes to face cancer, other life-threatening diseases, and life itself. Here is a link to Heather's interactive website page on which you can virtually fling your fears into the fire.



Thank you for reading my blog. You can comment below or email me at carold.marsh@gmail.com.
 

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