Mesothelioma Survivor Juggles Business, Family and Her SanityStories from Survivors
Written by Kasie Coleman
Asbestos.com is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource
The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.
Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.
More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.
About The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com
- Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
- Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
- A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
- 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family.LashawnMesothelioma patient’s daughter
How to Cite Asbestos.com’s Article
Coleman, K. (2023, March 6). Mesothelioma Survivor Juggles Business, Family and Her Sanity. Asbestos.com. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from https://www.asbestos.com/blog/2015/08/20/mesothelioma-survivor-juggles-business-family/
Coleman, Kasie. "Mesothelioma Survivor Juggles Business, Family and Her Sanity." Asbestos.com, 6 Mar 2023, https://www.asbestos.com/blog/2015/08/20/mesothelioma-survivor-juggles-business-family/.
Coleman, Kasie. "Mesothelioma Survivor Juggles Business, Family and Her Sanity." Asbestos.com. Last modified March 6, 2023. https://www.asbestos.com/blog/2015/08/20/mesothelioma-survivor-juggles-business-family/.
It’s been nine months since I last wrote about my experiences as a mesothelioma survivor and small-business owner in Baton Rouge — and plenty has happened in my life.
I launched my second Sugarbelle cake bakery in February 2014. For the price of rent, I walked into a fully equipped store with an existing customer base.
Before my cancer diagnosis, I probably would have passed on the offer. But after countless rounds of chemotherapy and two HIPEC procedures, I quickly learned that life was priceless and could end at any moment.
Opening that business — and eventually closing it after eight months — taught me valuable truths about myself and others. As a cancer survivor, wife and mother of two boys, I also learned keeping your family and your sanity is just as important as survival.
Demands of Opening Another Business
I doubled my staff, advertising efforts and labor when I opened the second Bundt cake bakery.
Although I thought all the bases were covered, I had not counted on also doubling my own work hours. I thought hiring additional staff would decrease my work load, but it didn’t. I also learned I was more of a micromanager than I cared to admit.
My days quickly turned into nights, and my children became weekend visitors. Six months into my new venture and I was physically exhausted from work, mentally drained from employee drama, and overwhelmed with the guilt of becoming an absentee parent.
I would sometimes go a week without seeing my children. The daily stress was overwhelming. I also felt horrible that I was crying everyday about something I volunteered to take on.
Putting Life into Perspective
God had given me not one, but two chances at life, and I felt guilty about spending all my days crying my eyes out. If peritoneal mesothelioma didn’t kill me, I definitely wasn’t about to let a cupcake bakery take me out.
I had achieved financial gain from the additional storefront, but my quality of life was rapidly diminishing. I made the important decision to seek help before suffering a complete nervous breakdown.
I called my oncologist, and she suggested I talk to a psychiatrist. My initial thought: “A shrink? I’m officially nuts.”
After divulging my drama to the psychiatrist, I learned a very important fact: I was so focused on surviving during my two-year mesothelioma battle that I never dealt with the trauma of my diagnosis and possible mortality.
Consequences of Dealing with Too Much at Once
During a follow-up oncology visit in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I received a call from one of my employees at my second bakery.
She told me there were realtors and appraisers in the building. It was the second time these people had visited. On their first visit, my landlord had told me she was not selling the unit, but merely obtaining a market analysis of the property.
However, when I pressed her for the truth, she revealed it: She had indeed sold the building.
Just eight months after launching my business, I had to close its doors in 60 days. The new owner wanted the space for her business and offered me another suite that was not conducive to a bakery.
The weight of my personal and business problems was too much for me to handle on my own. I decided to fill my prescription for an antidepressant from my psychiatrist. Once the medication kicked in, I was ready to proceed with life.
Blessing in Disguise?
The closing of the second bakery turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Despite all the problems of that location, the business had generated a solid customer following. That’s why I decided to wholesale my goods to retail stores and keep my original location.
In addition to the first Sugarbelle, my baked goods are now in two grocery stores, and an additional five stores are in the queue.
As fantastic as that sounds, I’m again faced with another dilemma.
For the past year, I was blessed to have a great baker who quickly became a second me — in more ways than one. At the age of 22, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. As a cancer survivor, I was able to coach her through her mental anguish.
While I’m happy to report she is cancer-free, I’m equally sad to say she is no longer my assistant baker. She received an unbelievable offer to become an executive pastry chef in New Orleans — a promising opportunity my little cupcake store may never offer her.
Now I’m revisiting my days of exhaustion and baking by myself for three stores.
As I said before, I’ve learned plenty about who I am, my priorities, family, how other people don’t come through with their promises and living as a mesothelioma survivor.
So I turn to God and pray for my continued health and that of my family, and hope I find another me to help run my cupcake empire.