A broken fridge and mesothelioma


Our refrigerator is still broken.

As of Thursday, it will have been broken for a month.

A month of living out of coolers in our kitchen. A month of throwing away food gone bad and buying bad food because bad food lasts longer. A month of struggling to make service appointments, waiting a week or more for those appointments, waiting for repairmen to come, getting the run around, and then waiting some more.

I go back and forth with how well I’m dealing with this. From denial (“If I don’t think about it then it won’t bother me so much!”) to frustration (“I just want to buy a dozen eggs and not have them go bad in a day!”) to anger (insert words here that I don’t use on this blog and should not (but have in the past month) say in front of my children).

I’ve considered taking to social media. I’ve considered using my growing influence and my voice to tear apart the company who makes our fridge and has refused to properly fix it for a month.

But attempting to tear into an old, established, gigantic corporation is not a good use of my voice. Or my energy. Or my precious writing time.

What is a good use of all of this is to support a cause.

A couple of weeks ago (just as the fridge drama was heating up, pun intended), Heather Von St. James contacted me about a cause that is near and dear to her heart. A cause that is important and worth talking about. A cause much more important than my 60 degree refrigerator. And suffering that is way worse than my bad customer service experiences.

Heather is a survivor of mesothelioma. Brought on primarily by exposure to asbestos, mesothelioma affects the lining of the lungs and abdomen. It is rare and difficult to diagnose. So, of course, it is also difficult to treat. But Heather is proof that it can be done. She lost her left lung in the process but today, she is thriving and she is urging people to take a moment for meso this summer.

I’ve been lucky in my life so far, to have been barely touched by cancer. So I don’t know. Beyond the stories I’ve read, I don’t know the struggle and the pain of working through diagnosis and treatment. I’m sure there are moments when it feels like the world is falling apart. When you wonder why this is happening. When you feel angry and helpless and hopeless.

I’m sure that the emotion I’ve conjured up about my fridge doesn’t even come close to the emotion that floods out when you are given just 15 months to live, as Heather once was.

So today, rather than taking my anger and frustration and screaming into the sky, I’m taking a moment for meso. I’m educating myself about a disease I’d not really heard of before a few weeks ago. I’m diving into the stories and the information about this rare but deadly disease.

And I’m using my voice to help spread the word and create hope. As Heather says, with hope, the odds don’t matter.

Take a moment for meso yourself, today. Watch Heather’s video and learn more. And share in her hope.


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