light your fears on fire

10yearsI was recently contacted by an inspiring woman named Heather Von St. James who, a decade ago, was told by doctors that she only had 15 months left to live. She wasn’t asking me for money or gifts, she simply wanted her story shared to raise awareness and inspire hope.  Her story resonated with me, and so does her message, so even though this isn’t my typical humor post – I hope you’ll continue reading her story.

In 2005, Heather was diagnosed with Mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure when she was a kid. Her cancer wasn’t caused by smoking, drinking, or anything thought to be menacing – she was simply a little girl who liked to put on a coat her father wore to his construction job. To make matters worse – the diagnosis came a mere handful of months after giving birth to her daughter. She heard the news that so many people fear –  she only had 15 months left to live. (Can you imagine coming face-to-face with death? The possibility you would not only leave your husband behind… but you would miss out on your daughter’s life?) Along with chemo, Heather braved a terrifying, yet successful, surgery to remove her left lung. She has coined the day of her surgery (February 2nd)  ‘Lung Leavin’ Day‘ and she celebrates the anniversary every year.

LLD_plateLung Leavin’ Day is all about facing your fears and not letting them control you. I can only imagine what Heather felt. The fear of dying and leaving her family behind. That her daughter would be without a mother. Having the money for treatment. Whether or not the surgery would be successful. Every year she, along with friends and family, celebrate Lung Leavin’ Day on February 2nd by writing their fears on plates and smashing them into a fire. This year, Alex and I are joining her.

Truthfully, neither of us have ever been through anything as scary or traumatic as Heather, but there’s no doubt we have our own fears. Rather than writing them on a plate and smashing it, we opted for lighting a paper plate on fire. There’s something very calming and cathartic about seeing your fears go up in flames.

Guys, life is too short to be controlled by fear and things that aren’t in our control. Be thankful for what you have. What you’ve had in the past. And for every day that you have here.

lungleavinday2016 Here’s our burning plate. My #1 fear? Infertility. Alex’s? Failure. 

There is a lot more to Heather’s story than what I wrote in this summary.
Visit her page here where she goes into detail about her cancer diagnosis and recovery.
– Want to smash a plate without lighting a fire? Visit her interactive page to smash a virtual plate.
– Visit mesothelioma.com to learn more about this deadly form of cancer.

my mother would be so proud

What’s your biggest phobia? Everyone’s got a few. One of mine? Getting caught in a crowd-gone-crazy and being trampled to death. I know, completely random and irrational. To me, laying naked in a coffin full of spiders crawling all over my skin sounds more enjoyable than going anywhere jam-packed and crowded. Tight spaces? Fine. Spiders on my face? Okay, I can deal. Going to the State Fair? No way in hell. Concert? I might start crying. Parents: be careful you aren’t forever traumatizing your children with Where’s Waldo books. That’s the shit nightmares are made of.

spiderbox

So, yesterday when I decided to go shopping on Black Friday for the first time, it was a big deal. I’ve always been one of those people who thought holiday shoppers were just a bunch of rabid crazies, but…I have to admit — it was kind of fun. I got to shove, elbow, and trip a few people. Throw up the bird here and there. All while saving a few dollars. (My mother, and Joe Rogan, would be so proud.) Plus, it gave me the chance to escape family and be alone for a little bit. It was a holiday win for me. Not so much for the people I took out, though. Those poor shmucks. 

I went into Thanksgiving a bit cautious after the whole stuffing fiasco with my mother-in-law. It went pretty well.  I was pumped full of so much wine I could barely move and pretty oblivious to anything going on. Until dessert rolled around, and she neatly laid all of the choices out on the table. All of them except the one I brought. Which was left alone and covered on an empty table in another room. I think it was on purpose. Alex thinks I’m being paranoid. Which one of us is right?  Only time will tell.