Some of you may remember way back when, when I was still trying to moderate, I would reserve Saturdays to try and forget that I had a drinking problem. One way I do this was by holding Neighbor Kary May's Radio Show and I'd gab on about anything and everything but my drinking. Neighbor Kary May's Radio Show never got very high ratings and I decided to pull it off the air, but this Saturday I decided it needed a revival. I no longer have to reserve Saturdays to act like I'm not a drunk, because I ain't anymore. The longer I'm sober, the further and further I move into the "real" world, meeting people and hearing their stories of struggle that have nothing whatsoever to do with drinking, but everything to do with survival. We know a thing or two about surviving, don't we?
I'm not sure how Cameron found my blog, but a couple of weeks ago he sent me the story of his and his wife's struggle and triumph over cancer. It doesn't matter how he found me, what matters is that he did, and at a time when I most needed to hear his story. I no longer believe that anything happens by accident and I know that all the things we need will find their way to us when it's time. I'll be going to help my daughter-in-law who is under going chemotherapy next week and I'll be carrying Cameron and his wife's story a long with me. Thank you, Cameron, but I want to hear more, I want to hear your stories, your stories of despair and how you found hope shining in the darkest corners. I want to hear about every person that held you up when you couldn't stand on your own anymore. I want to hear how you kept up the facade of strength for your wife when you were crumbling inside. I'm a big champion of blogs and I think you should write one because a lot of people need to hear your story. There are probably a lot of blogs written by people who are battling cancer and people who have survived cancer, but I bet there aren't enough blogs written by the people who are holding their hands through it all. The husband of one of my friends who is a breast cancer survivor says, "It's not only the patient who gets cancer." Just like it's not only the alcoholic who suffers the effects of the disease.
Thank you Cameron for working so hard to get your message of hope out to the ones that need to hear it. We know a little bit about that too.
Ladies and Gentlemen may I present Cameron!
My world was shattered on November 21, 2005, the day my wife Heather was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. It was the day I became more than a husband and a father to a 3-month-old daughter. I became a caregiver to my precious wife, and together we began a long and difficult journey to save her life.
We were the proud parents of lovely newborn Lily, both of us employed at jobs we enjoyed, in a home we had built together. Now, all of that was at risk -- my Heather could die and I would be left alone, my daughter left motherless. After we received the diagnosis, we were given a handful of treatment options that might be able to help Heather. Of all the options presented to us, one in particular stood out. It was a doctor in Boston named David Sugarbaker, who specialized in treating this rare and deadly cancer. The choice was easy, and I told the doctor to get us to Boston as soon as possible.
I was lost, unsure how to balance the demands of a household, a young child, a seriously ill wife and a job. My new responsibilities, coupled with the crushing fears and anxiety over what could happen weighed me down more and more each day, and I quickly became overwhelmed. Luckily, I found out quickly that I did not need to fight this battle alone.
In an answer to prayers, family, friends and even strangers offered everything from kind words of encouragement to desperately needed financial help. Suddenly lots of people were fighting for us, a consequence of my willingness (in spite of my pride) to say "yes" when asked if I needed help. I cannot express what it meant to have so many be concerned for Heather, Lily and me. Our lives, despite the horrors of Heather's illness, were enriched by having supporters in our fight against it.
Over the following months, Heather would undergo many difficult treatments in the attempt to rid her body of cancer. She would have surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments, and in the end with the help of our friends and family she was able to defy the odds against her. She has been cancer free for over six years.