Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Lung Leavin' Day

A couple of weeks ago
I received an email from a man by the name of Cameron Von St James
Who shared with me his and his families story
Nine years ago
Cameron's wife Heather
Was diagnosed with mesothelioma
A rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos
Heather had just given birth to their daughter Lilly
And during the most exciting time in their lives
Heather was given just 15 months to live
After surgery to remove her left lung
Heather began her journey towards survival
And Lung Leavin' Day was born
A name Heather's sister gave the day Heathers lung was removed
In order to lighten the situation
The name stuck
And now the family celebrate it every year
On February 2nd

Lung Leavin' Day is about overcoming your fears
This year is the ninth year of celebrating it
The purpose of this holiday is to encourage others to face their fears
Each year Cameron and Heather and their families gather together around a fire  in their back yard
Write their fears on to a plate
And smash them in to the fire
They celebrate for those who are no longer here
For those who continue to fight
For those who are currently going through a tough time in their lives
And most importantly
They celebrate life

I was really moved and touched by this story
What really stood out to me was the power and strength of the human spirit
The will to live is such an amazing thing
The instinct to survive keeps us going
Even though we may want to give up
I can relate to this story a lot
Overcoming my own fears is a daily battle
And the last six months have been especially testing
At my counselling appointment yesterday
My counsellor told me that I am a very determined person
I guess I am 
Although up until now
I only used that determination and stubbornness in a destructive way
But recently 
I have been using it as a power for good
To help myself
And others

For the longest time
I didn't care if I lived or died
In fact I courted death
I would describe it as having a passive death wish
Not actively seeking it
But welcoming it all the same
I was more afraid of living than I was of dying
It seemed the only way out of my situation was to disappear
I really believed that was the only viable option

But the will to live is strong
Even though you think you don't want to live
It is always there
I began to fight
To fight for my life
And just like light seeping in to a dark room
I began to get a glimpse of what my life could be like
I began to see that there is life after ED and addiction
That there was more to me than my illness
Little by little
Things started to improve for me
My depression lifted
My anxiety lessened
I re-gained some weight
It was like inhaling a breath of fresh air after I had been drowning for so long
Every day since then has been one of growth and learning
It's scary
It's terrifying
It's overwhelming
It can be monotonous
But it's also exciting 
Life affirming
And heart warming
I am feeling again
The good and the bad
The ups and downs
The highs and the lows
It's a whole new world 
To feel again
To be present in the moment
To stop running from myself
To stop hating myself

Overcoming our fears is essential if we want to grow, learn and move forward
I often find that it is the thought of something is a lot scarier than the actual event itself 
It's the build up to it
The anticipation
It's the constant thinking about it that can cripple me
One thing I have learned in recent times
Is that I am a lot more capable than I thought I was
Fear is part and parcel of life
We can either let it hold us back
Or we can feel the fear and do it anyway
For me
It's baby steps all the way
Everything is new right now
And it's scary
But what is the alternative?
Letting feat rule my life?
I'm not willing to do that

So I invite you today 
To take part in Lung Leavin' Day on 2nd February
Let's not let fear run our lives
Let's be brave 
Let's be strong
We can do this
We can live the life of our dreams
It is possible
I truly believe that

Thank you Cameron and Heather 
For bringing this to my attention
For reminding me that I can face my fears
I wish you a lifetime of happiness and health
And Happy Lung Leavin' Day to you!


  1. what an inspiring story,sometimes i feel bad that i don't look after myself when others are ill through no fault,count me in xx

  2. I sometimes feel like I am just a bundle of fears and anxiety, but I am so tired of letting that rule my life. I'm in!

  3. This post really moved me. Both because i actually had a loved one die due to cancer caused by asbestos.And because you are amazingly strong. Keep on fighting. Thanks for posting this.


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