Becoming My Wife’s Caregiver Equipped Me for the Future

Guest Post By Cameron Von St. James

MesotheliomaNovember 21st of 2005, I heard of malignant pleural mesothelioma for the first time in my life.  My daughter Lily was three months old and my wife, Heather had been feeling ill for several weeks.  When we took Heather to the doctor, we found out she had mesothelioma, a rare and extremely deadly form of cancer.  We felt our lives falling into a stream of chaos and I felt helpless as the doctor explained the serious nature of this type of cancer.  Without hesitation, I accepted the challenge to become my wife’s caregiver, and I knew I would have to do everything in my power to see that she got better.  I could not imagine my life without Heather and I was going to fight to support her and help her win this battle no matter what.

Our doctor listed our treatment options we had available to get Heather help and we chose a specialist in Boston.  While we also had two other options for treatment that were closer to home, we wanted Heather to have an experienced mesothelioma program that would give her the absolute best chance of survival possible.  This is why we chose Dr. Sugarbaker in Boston.  Upon hearing the choices for treatment, all I had to do was glance at my wife to see the stricken look on her face.  The realization of how serious and how much of a struggle this was going to be was quickly sinking in for both of us.  I told our doctor, “We need to get to Boston quickly!”

During the months following Heather’s mesothelioma diagnosis, our lives were completely hectic.  Previous to this time, we both had been working full time.  Heather could not work now, and my work hours were dramatically reduced to just part time.  Although we lost income and we gained new expenses, we were able to manage thanks to the help of an outpouring of love from a generous community.  Family members were also incredibly supportive of us in every way.  People volunteered to make meals, babysit for us and just be there to help us out in numerous ways.  The support and love that was bestowed on us by so many people made it possible for us to continue to get Heather treated without our household and our finances completely falling apart.

While we did receive a lot of support, there were also times when I was simply overwhelmed with all of the tasks before me.  I tried my best to stay strong for Heather, and for Lily; but I was also exhausted, worried and stressed.  There were occasions where I just collapsed and cried for a long time.  After I regained my composure, I knew I just had to keep moving on one day at a time. Heather went through a long series of treatments that were incredibly difficult on her, but she also remained strong and as positive as possible. I will forever be impressed by her strength and courage throughout this difficult time.
If anyone finds himself in a position where he is a caregiver for someone, I just want to stress the importance of taking help from people.  It is common for many people to try to handle everything on their own, but being a caregiver is also about accepting support when it is offered.  Not only will it help to make your load a bit lighter, it will also ripple throughout your family and to the one you are caring for.

It took several years for my life to get back to a steady and consistent routine.  Looking back now on what we went through, I am amazed at how well we met the challenge that faced us.  Even though at the time it did not feel like we were coping well, we managed to make it through each day to face the next one.  Despite the terrifying odds, Heather managed to beat mesothelioma.  It has been seven years since her heartbreaking diagnosis, and she remains cancer free and healthy to this day.

I went back to school to continue my education when Lily was two years old.  Through the process of being Heather’s caregiver, while also being a father and an employee, I learned I could handle much more than what I had previously thought.  This new realization about myself made me ambitious to take on more challenges.  I studied Information Technology, and when I graduated, I was the speaker for the graduation ceremony.  A few years earlier, sitting in a doctor’s office and hearing that my wife might only have months to live, I never would have imagined where my life could take me.  That was the theme of my speech that day, and Lily and her healthy, happy mother were in the audience to cheer me on.  Never give up hope, and never stop fighting for the ones you love.

More Evidence Smoking Destroys Your Lungs – Quit & Detox Now!

If all the warning you see and hear were not enough to make you consider quitting smoking, I found another extremely good image for the visual learners out there on what happens to your lungs after a long time smoking cigarettes. See below:

black unhealthy lungs


A perfectly healthy set of human lungs not abused by years of inhaling toxic cigarette smoke, tar and chemicals – and one that has. Black, bruised, falling apart, and whoever had that in their chest must have felt extremely poor for a LONG period of time as their lungs struggled to function under the strain of the sickness and pollution.

So no long post today – an image is worth a thousand words they say. Today’s image is 1000 words all saying QUIT SMOKING NOW!

News From The Front Lines Of Quitting Smoking

quitting smoking geneday, there are news reports and journal articles about discoveries and developments in the fields of quitting smoking and lung detoxification.

Here are a just a few:

You Think Smoking Doesn’t Affect Your Life Expectancy – Think Again!

According to a paper in the latest edition of Journal of Tobacco Control, smoking is responsible for up to 60% of the longevity gap between men and women in most European countries.  That is, smoking is the main reason why men die sooner than women.  Recent World Health Organization figures on death rates were the source of the discovery.

In the UK, women live and average of four years longer than men – although, in recent years, the gap has been closing.  Second to smoking, alcohol accounts for 20% of the disparity.

So guys, quit now, clean yourself up, and have a better chance of living as long as your woman!

Science Finds Quit Gene

According to a very recent study, scientists have pinpointed a source of nicotine craving in the brain, opening up a new path toward drug treatments to kick the habit.  This is highly desirable, given that tobacco kills more than five MILLION people every year, and accounts for nearly one in EVERY 10 adult deaths, 90% of them involving lung cancer.

In experiments with mice and rats, researchers have mapped the functioning of a gene called CHRNA5, previously linked with nicotine addiction.  The gene controls a receptor – an entry point on the surface of brain cells – which responds to nicotine molecules.  With a normal version of this gene, anything more than a tiny dose of nicotine triggers a message to the brain which says in effect “stop consuming,” the scientists found.  Larger doses [of nicotine] unleash a sense of repulsion, similar to ‘bad tasting food or drink,” said Paul Kenny, lead researcher at the Scripps research Institute in Florida.  But the effect was quite different in mice in which a tiny sub-unit of the receptor, known as alpha5, had been knocked out.  The negative message was never sent, and as a result the rodents couldn’t get enough of the potent drug [being nicotine].

Researchers believe a similar scenario occurs natural in some humans, genome-wide screening studies have identified genetic alterations which impair alpha5 unit functioning.

So there you go.  Your genes effect how easily you get addicted to nicotine, and likewise make it harder for some to quit.

Nicotine Patch Prices To Be Slashed

It appears that the Government in Australia has decided that nicotine patches are effective enough to be added to that country’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.  Before this sensible move, the smallest pack of patches cost nearly three times what a pack of cigarettes cost.  With a doctor’s prescription, the price drops from between Au$100 – 140 down to Au$34.20, or $5.60 with a concession card.  Australian residents are eligible for up to 12 weeks supply of the quit smoking patches per year.  This is indeed good news.

If you don’t have the good fortune to live in Australia, our product, ‘The Complete Lung Detoxification Guide’ Series, has other, more cost effective ways to help you quit, stay quit, and detoxify your lungs as quickly as possible, saving you years of tar lung that increases your chances of cancer, emphysema and other related diseases.  Give it a try, you won’t regret it!

Until next time,

Happy New Year, stay well, stay quit, and lung-toxin free.

William Renolds

Good News In Several Forms – New Lung Cancer Treatment And Lung Detox In The New Year

I have some good news. Firstly, it was announced this week in the Australian Herald Sun that researchers at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, have made a breakthrough in lung cancer research. They have identified a gene that makes squamous cell lung cancer tumors (that account for 30 – 40% of all lung cancers) grow and spread. From this discovery, they are working on a pill that will be trialed in humans next year (2011).

Associate Professor Gavin Wright, lead researcher of the team that is responsible for the discovery, has said…

This is possibly the most significant finding in lung cancer, full stop. The drug, which would be taken daily as a pill, could be standard treatment within three years. Hormones bind to a receptor on the FGFR-1 gene in the cancer cell, making the tumour multiply and spread around the body. If we block the FGFR-1 receptor on the cancer cell, it undergoes the normal programmed death that tired or diseased cells are supposed to.

Two drugs, which in the past had not been identified as useful, have now been shown to block the gene. The drugs have been shown to cause squamous cell lung cancers in mice to disappear in early trials. Human trials will be held in Melbourne at St Vincent’s and at the Max Planck Institute in Cologne, Germany. So if you are near either of these two places, and have been diagnosed with squamous cell lung cancer, you could do a lot worse than see if you can get into the trials.

This is indeed good news for some cancer suffers, however, here at we are hoping you never get to the stage of needing these sorts of drugs. So to make it even easier for you to follow our comprehensive program for quitting and detoxifying your lungs, removing damaging tar and built up toxins from smoking so you considerably reduce your chances of developing cancer, we are adding new components to our product. This will initially be at no extra charge, and will help you with motivation to ‘stay the course’ of quitting and lung detox, and will make it even easier for you to follow the comprehensive information in our Guides.

So stay tuned to the blog, as I’ll be introducing you to the new additions to our product in the lead up to the New Year.

Until next time,

stay well, stay quit, and lung-toxin free.

William Renolds