I’ve received a few comments on this blog. Most of them are nice responses to my posts and a few are spam, but I finally received my first piece of “fan mail” from Cameron Von St. James. He is the husband of Mesothelioma survivor Heather Von St. James, and she has a pretty incredible story that I wanted to share with you all. I received an email that read:
Thanks for your response! I came across your blog and really identified with your writing. My name is Cameron Von St. James and my wife was diagnosed with an extremely rare and deadly cancer called Mesothelioma. Normally when diagnosed with Mesothelioma, a person has a life expectancy of about 3-12 months, but after intense treatment and recovery she is still here 6 ½ years later. There are many steps to take as a caregiver when dealing with any type of cancer or harmful disease. Would you allow me to write an article for your blog so that your readers will be able learn some tips, struggles, and successes that I learned while caring for my wife? This is an important message to get out there so please let me know if you would be interested in seeing it and sharing it with your readers.”
I absolutely wanted to help get the message out, but I wanted to do better. Instead of just posting an article on here, I wanted to share their story, their websites, and leave their contact information. They have a great story to share, both as a cancer survivor and a caregiver.
Heather was diagnosed with Mesothelioma on November 21, 2005. She was diagnosed with this disease only three months after their daughter was born. Typically, Mesothelioma patients do not survive for more than a few months, and a full recovery like Heather’s is almost unheard of. Heather was treated in Boston by a doctor named David Sugarbaker. She first underwent a procedure called an extrapleural pneumonectomy, which involves removing the afflicted lung, linings of the heart, and a portion of the diaphragm. As someone who loves science and technology as much as I do, especially cancer technology, this procedure is absolutely fascinating to me. The surgery is obviously extremely risky, but Heather and Cameron both felt that the risks would be worth it if the procedure would help cure her of the cancer. She continued to undergo chemotherapy and radiation following the surgery, and against all odds she is still cancer free to this day!
They’re a beautiful, inspiring family, and I’m glad I could share a little bit about their story. If you want to read more, definitely check our their blogs at:
Their story also really made me think. There are a lot of great stories out there by cancer survivors, so starting this month, I’m going to highlight one person a month for this blog. I know, and have spoken to, a few people already, but if you know of someone who is interested, please let me know.
In other news, everything in terms of the book I am sending to agents is complete. All I have to finalize is the query letter. I’m off to talk to a few more agents this week. One of my New Years Resolutions is to really dedicate the last year in my twenties to cancer. I want to concentrate on this book, cancer policy, my work with the American Cancer Society, and also about having an honest discussion about cancer and open data. I genuinely believe this is the way to cure cancer. I look forward to sharing a lot with you all this year.