LIFE THROUGH THE LENS OF A MESOTHELIOMA CAREGIVER: CAMERON VON ST. JAMES

What Does Being a Caregiver Mean? In the case of my wife, her cancer diagnosis meant she was going to be spending 100% of her time and energy fighting the disease. As a caregiver, I was going to help her with this battle, and then take over everything else so she could focus on fighting mesothelioma. Again, I just thought of it as being a good husband, I keep thinking of the passage in our wedding vows “in sickness and in health.” This was the sickness part.

REMOVING MY MASTECTOMY DRAIN, WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY WAITRESS

In Cape May, NJ, with a drain protruding from my right side after a single, prophylactic mastectomy less than two weeks ago, I'm here to recuperate. I barely slept last night, the site where the plastic tube exits my side burns. I text my plastic surgeon a photo of the site and he tells me it's time for the drain to be removed. It's 8:30 pm and I'm three hours from his office on the tail-end of December, how is how this infected drain going to be removed so I can get some sleep tonight?

CANCER = TRUTH SERUM

Cancer is like a truth serum: You find out what you are made of as well as what everyone else is all about. That was a lesson I was not prepared for, or welcomed, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was also an unexpected upside of an otherwise calamitous situation.When you are diagnosed with cancer you are forced to look at your life, relationships and the choices you have made on a whole new scale....

BUBLE AND I

On bus 66 tonight, headphones in, song on repeat, my eyes moisten, I get nostalgic; what am I to do with this sad energy in my lap, seated first row?

RATTLESNAKE CORAL

My eyes lit up with the array of colors and designs that make up Mary's collection; her pieces range from simple and elegant to colorful and playful; all of them bold.

WHAT'S THE TAKEAWAY?

Cancer has made me live boldly - I ask for what I want, dare to take that step, reach for the stars; why not?  Now, on the "other side" of cancer (for the time being), I can say that cancer gave me the gift of fully living, being awake in my life, plucking the day. 

HAPPY FALL!

I'm a warm-weather kind of woman, but I love autumn because it marks my birthday, my sobriety anniversary and the day my life changed from that breast lump.

BACK TO THE SCENE

Three hundred sixty five days ago my life changed forever. I lay on the bed and brushed my hand against my chest: chills illuminated my spine. Fear, terror: Oh My God, this doesn't feel normal, it's too big and too hard!