Surviving The Holidays with a Difficult Diagnosis

Dear Readers,

I have recently

become acquainted

with some new friends

who asked to


their message

of hope and gratitude

on my blog.

It is often difficult to express with words the gratitude we feel

to family and friends who help get us through difficult times.

Thank you does not seem to express the deep intensity for the blessings of help.

Thank you to all those who love and serve and care for those who have Cancer!


I hope you enjoy…

Here is their Christmas story.


Surviving the Holidays with a Difficult Diagnosis

I’ve always enjoyed the holiday season.

It means spending time

with friends and

giving thanks for all we’ve been given and following our family’s traditions.

My wife Heather and I were expecting

Christmas 2005 to be even more special than it
had been in the past because in August,

our only child Lily was born.

We knew
which traditions

we wanted to keep going and also what we wanted to start doing in
honor of our new arrival.


our joy and excitement were stamped out just
three days before Thanksgiving,

when we found out that my wife had cancer.

When Lily was only three and a half months old,

her mother discovered that she had
malignant pleural mesothelioma.

In just a matter of hours, our focus switched from
planning for the holidays

to planning how we were going to fight the disease.

I fell into a state of anger and fear.

I knew enough about mesothelioma to know that our
once bright and exciting future now suddenly looked bleak and uncertain.

Although I
tried to remain hopeful and positive,

I secretly tried to prepare myself for the worst:
watching my wife die and being left alone to raise our daughter.

Being thankful
became extremely difficult.

Despite our fears, we did our best to celebrate the holidays.

We were blessed to
have Heather’s family with us during both Thanksgiving and Christmas

before we
were expected in Boston to begin her treatment.

After we had our Thanksgiving dinner,

we talked about how Heather’s family would be able to help us navigate
through our difficulties.

It was a conversation that I had not been looking forward to

Everything was included in this discussion about our finances.

Heather’s family
volunteered to help us pay some of our bills,

and we determined which assets we
could sell to keep ourselves financially afloat.

We had both worked full time, but with
the diagnosis we had to prepare to survive on a single income

while watching our
expenses explode with new treatment

and travel costs coming our way.

I was embarrassed and mortified

that I could not take care of my family myself, and once
again found myself thinking that I had nothing to be thankful for.

My pride blinded me,

and it took years for me to see clearly how very lucky I was
that day,

and how very much I had in my life to be thankful for.

We had a family who
dropped everything to be by our sides

to see us through our time of need.

They offered to make incredible sacrifices

of their own to ensure our well being,

without a second’s hesitation.

The first thing I want to do this holiday season is thank all of our family and friends
for remaining by our side in our time of need. It was their love and support that
got our family through the mesothelioma surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation
treatments in the months that followed.

Heather has been cancer-free for

Christmas’s now,

and we hope that our story can serve as inspiration to all those
currently battling cancer this holiday season.


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