What would you do when faced with a terrifying reality of certain death if you didn’t act now? Add to that a young husband and infant baby as well. What of them? What of their futures? This heart-rending fear and reality is what Lung Leavin’ Day is all about. It’s about how to look that fear in the face and still have the dignity and grace to move forward. It’s about honoring those who have had to find it within themselves to resist the urge to curl up into a tiny ball and hide.
History of Lung Leavin’ Day
Lung Leavin’ Day was created in 2005 when Heather Von St. James was faced with the diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma. Her world stood still in that moment when she was told as she has stated that all she could think about was her three-month-old daughter and her husband of just six years. Fear could have frozen her in that moment but her determination was soon to become apparent.
Faced with the reality that if she did nothing she would only have 15 months to live or she could try a new radical procedure, she chose to act. She endured a procedure that removed her left lung, pericardium, diaphragm and pleura. It took months for her to recover from this procedure with help and support from her family and friends. Heather Von St. James and her family began the tradition of writing their worries and fears on a plate, and then smashing them to show that they have power over the fears! Don’t you agree that doing this is empowering? Heather and her family have been celebrating this day for 11 years! That is a far cry from the 15 months she was given at first!
How to Celebrate Lung Leavin’ Day
The day got its names from Heather’s sister. It is also a great day to celebrate not only victories over cancer but over anything that can freeze you in your tracks. Heather and her husband Cameron hope that everyone can learn from their experience. If you can, find a plate and fill it up with a list of all your worries, fears and concerns. Then find a safe place and smash that bugger and know that as the plate falls to pieces, so can your fears. Find strength in the action of doing something. If that isn’t your cup of tea you can do the same type of exercise with paper. Again, write all the worries down on the paper. Then either tear it to shreds or crumple it up! Don’t let the fear take over and hold you still. Better yet, share your fears with someone. Share the load. It is easier to manage something big with help. There is no reason to keep the fear inside where it can grow and grow.
Finally, take a moment and smile. Yes, smile. I know you still remember how. No matter how dire things may seem, smile. Honor your battle. Honor your strength. Maybe even treat yourself to a cookie or ice cream. Know you are strong!