Tuesday, January 13, 2015


 Some of you may know that I have spent the past several years as a nurse in palliative care and hospice. It has given me a much broader awareness of chronic and degenerative diseases. I trained in the Tom Baker Cancer Centre at Foothills Hospital, so I was familiar with different cancers, but of course, you can never keep up with the new findings and new treatments for all areas.
In this day and age of social media, we are introduced to a few pet diseases, and the flavour of the month campaigns. But people do not choose their illness, and every one of them have devastating repercussions in the lives of the patient, their friends and family.
I was asked to bring some awareness to the story of a wonderful woman, Heather Von St. James who has made it through to the other side of a terrible illness, pleural mesothelioma.
. In the work I have done with nursing in the final days, I have tried to advocate for removing the "war" language. "Fighting a battle" and "not giving up" can be harmful words to someone who has done everything they can do but will not "win the war". Not one of us will live our lives without dying. Most of us will be surprised. Some will see it coming like a train or a slow moving caravan. But we share our mortality.
 Heather has faced this with strength and courage, and is supported by a loving family. And she is a survivor. Now she would like to get more information to all of us about the risks of asbestos, the importance of research and the work toward a cure. You can find out more about it here: http://www.mesothelioma.com/asbestos-cancer/what-is-asbestos.htm
In Canada, we have had a large asbestos industry. It was going to be the wonder solution. I just finished reading Louise Penny's book, "The Long Way Home" and asbestos was featured in it. Our own Member of Parliament had to step down from his seat in Ottawa because of this illness.

 I encourage you to have a look at Heather's page. It is beautifully presented and thoughtfully told.
And let us celebrate each day in the best way that we can.

1 comment:

Lifesastitch said...

Wise words to the living, Angie. Hospice people have a special gift.