Journey To Overcoming Cancer And Reclaiming Life – Guest blog   Leave a comment

Guest blog post……

Journey To Overcoming Cancer And Reclaiming Life

You’ve probably heard the old saying about how “it takes a village.” It’s one that I came to believe in when my daughter was born on August 4, 2005. While my pregnancy was uneventful, I did have to have an emergency C-section. My parents, my husband’s family, and our friends immediately came to the hospital to meet Lily and wish us well. Everything was going great, but we were soon to discover that this was just the calm before the storm.

A month after I returned to work full-time everything began going downhill. I began to feel tired, breathless, and as though I had no energy. While this could have easily been attributed to being a new mom, I felt like there was something wrong. I went to my doctor. He ran a myriad of tests before diagnosing me with pleural mesothelioma on November 21, 2005. This was only 3 ½ months after Lily was born. cancer, mesothelioma, sickness, healing, healed, tumor, sick, reclaim, life, pregnancy, pregnant, mother, mom

This is a type of cancer that’s located within the lining of your lungs. It’s caused by exposure to asbestos, which occurred unknowingly when I was a child. Now 30 years later the symptoms that I could have easily attributed to being a new mom were actually caused by mesothelioma.

My first thoughts were about Lily. I’d been told I only had 15 months left to live. Thinking about my husband being alone with her, I knew we had to do everything possible to save my life. However, the prognosis was grim and so I had to do something drastic. On February 2 my husband and I flew to Boston for a treatment for mesothelioma that’s known as an extrapleural pneumenectomy, the removal of my left lung. It took me 18 days to recover in the hospital then two months at home before starting chemotherapy and radiation.

We wouldn’t have made it through this without our loving, supportive village. There were lots of people from the different parts of our lives, some of whom we wouldn’t have thought would come out and others whom we thought we couldn’t depend on. Of course, there were also people whom we thought we could depend on only to discover that we couldn’t.

While in Boston my parents raised Lily. Fortunately, they had help from girls whom I used to babysit. They’d watch her while my parents held down their full-time jobs. People that I used to attend church with also helped. Their support and love was wonderful.

As a family we do our best to embrace life. We know how truly fragile it is. I encourage you to do the same. While cancer brings you something bad, it also brings a lot of good with it too. Ultimately, I’m very thankful for all the good that’s come from my dire diagnosis.

Heather Von St James is a 43-year-old wife and mother. Upon her diagnosis of mesothelioma, she vowed to be a source of hope for other patients who found themselves with the same diagnosis. Now, over 6 years later, her story has been helping people all over the globe. She continues her advocacy and awareness work by blogging, speaking and sharing her message of hope and healing with others. Check out her story at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog.


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