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I'm a self-professed adventure writer and former exercise junkie seeking a long-term relationship with my higher self, healthy workout habits, and a balanced, adventurous lifestyle in San Luis Obispo. Join me as I discover the healthy activities of SLO County, from land to sea.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Asbestos Awareness Week 2014

Writing my blogs is a labor of love. I enjoy sharing my SLO County adventures with a widespread audience and hope that at least a few of you will feel inspired to get out and explore your surroundings, and live a full, adventuresome life. Equally important is the opportunity for me to hear from my readers and learn from you. 

Recently, Heather Von St. James, a cancer victor who lives in Roseville, Minnesota, reached out to me with a request to share something on my blog that is very near and dear to her: Asbestos Awareness Week 2014 (April 1 - 7). Once I read about her incredible story I was delighted to help.

In 2005, at the age of 36 and just months after giving birth to her daughter Lily Rose, Heather was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, a rare and deadly cancer caused by her second-hand asbestos exposure when she was growing up. Given just 15 months to live, she and her husband Cameron faced some tough choices: Heather underwent a life-saving surgical procedure that included removal of her left lung. 

Heather has made it her life's mission to help educate people about this deadly disease and its cause, and eight years after her diagnosis, she's spreading optimism and hope. Here is what Heather wrote to me about staying active...quite an inspiration to keep moving!

"After surgery, I was encouraged to get up and walk two times a day for 20 minutes.. when I started, I lugged around oxygen and IV's on a cart, by the end of my stay...(18 days!!) I was walking a mile a day around the halls of the hospital...with no oxygen or IV's. It absolutely helped with healing…I was released from the hospital in mid February so my walking sort of waned off during those cold months,...but once the weather warmed up, I started walking out doors again. I would take my daughter to the mall in the stroller and walk around with her. It was pretty much all I was capable of that first year…as the years have gone on,  I have tried different things, Yoga, biking, swimming...but I always go back to simply walking,... I don't do it as often as I would like, especially this last winter which was so terribly cold…I kept saying I would join a gym for the cold weather months, but never did...I loathe treadmills...I'm very much looking forward to warmer weather and just being outside.  I stay active...I garden and love doing yard work in the summer and do a lot of fun things with my daughter…but I don't hold tight to any regimen…I think attitude and just staying active help me in everyday life."

Throughout her life, Heather's been accused of wearing rose colored glasses and seeing life very optimistically. She has no plans of ever taking them off. You can find out more about her amazing journey by clicking here.

"Don't give up. Don't take a death sentence as a diagnosis. There is hope." ~Heather Von St. James

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