Guest post: Heather von St. James

Feb 12, 2013

Recently I was contacted by a blogger, Heather, about sharing her story regarding her battle with mesothelioma.
Funny how the blog world works, but her story really hit close to home for Josh and I.
A few years ago Josh lost his grandfather to mesothelioma.
The loss was so hard on his family, but particularly hard on Josh because his grandfather had a huge hand in raising him.
Reading Heather's story about how she conquered this devastating, malignant disease, and how she is still able to be an incredible mother and wife is truly inspiring. 
I hope you enjoy it and that you let her bravery encourage you today.

How I Fought for My Life
Life has a way of turning on a dime when you least expect it. Before you know it, everything will have completely gone downhill. At the age of 36, I got a firsthand experience with that reality. Everything seemed so perfect. With the birth of our daughter in August of 2005, my husband and I were over the moon with joy. Unfortunately, we weren't going to enjoy those feelings for very long.

I returned to work when our daughter was a month old. However, I noticed that I didn't have nearly as much energy as I expected. Considering the fact that I just had a baby, I knew that I was losing weight way too fast. Most new mothers don't lose seven pounds in a week. In my heart, I could sense that something wasn't quite right.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is one of those types of cancers that is caused by the inhalation of asbestos. Unfortunately, I was one of those unlucky children who were unknowingly exposed to it. After going through a series of diagnostic tests, my doctor hit me with the worst news of my life: I had cancer. Without treatment, I was not expected to live any longer than 15 months.

I had sensed that something was wrong, but I never imagined that something so devastating could happen to me. The first person I thought about was my daughter Lily. I couldn't imagine what life would be like for her and my husband if I wasn't around. I knew that I needed to fight this disease for her sake. My husband and I agreed on the most aggressive treatment option and flew to Boston for my extrapleural pneumonectomy- a surgery and form of mesothelioma treatment that removed my entire left lung and all of the surrounding tissue. I had to wait over two months to begin radiation and chemo, but I still needed to be the mother that Lily deserved.

While I was fighting for my life, I needed someone to look out for Lily's. Luckily, my parents were able to keep her with them where they lived in South Dakota. On the same day that my husband and I flew to Boston, Lily and my mother flew from our home in Minnesota to South Dakota.  I was grateful for them and everyone else who helped me get through such an awful point in my life. I hated missing out on my daughter's first milestones. However, I was willing to sacrifice that month of milestones in if it meant having a lifetime of memories with her.

There is absolutely nothing good about cancer. However, the experience was easier to get through thanks to the love and support of my family. I wanted to be around for them and that made me fight even harder. When you come close to losing your life, you'll begin to realize how much you truly value it. If anyone ever finds his or herself in an impossible position, they have no reason to lose hope. There's always a silver lining waiting to be found.

Heather blogs over here so go say hey and check out some more of her posts!


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Such stories are not only for reading purpose but also give motivation to those who are struggling and fighting with sever diseases also helpful for the victim families. Worth reading one..

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