Monday, May 20, 2013

A story of Hope by Heather Von St James: How she fought Malignant pleural mesothelioma

Hello Everyone,

Today I'm sharing a story from a reader about Cancer. Normally my blog consists of food, but she approached me and wanted to get her story out there. So I hope this helps raise awareness of this nasty disease. Thank you so much Heather for asking me to do this....I hope this helps in some way <3

My Victory Over Cancer

Heather Von StJames Facebook Page
Heathers Blog

If my seven-year-old daughter ever hears the word cancer, she remembers that because of her, I am alive. As a matter of fact, acknowledging that she saved my life is almost as common as saying that she wants something to eat or that she does not feel well. Whenever people wonder how much truth there is behind
this statement coming from such a young girl, I am the first to say that my daughter is completely right.

My husband Cameron and I did not have kids as soon as we were married; as a matter of fact, we waited seven years before we began thinking about kids. By this time, I was already 35 years old, and I had begun to become nervous about having kids at my age. After only three months, I received the amazing news that we would be having our first baby! Just like any mom, I was ecstatic and nervous. I often thought about what type of mom I would be, but most importantly, I wanted to be a good mom.

Overall, I was lucky in that my pregnancy was very smooth. The only issue we had was that Lily ended up being breech, so I had to opt for an emergency Csection. Even throughout the C-section, I continued to keep a positive attitude. When I finally had the opportunity to hold Lily, I realized that I would always give her love, protection, and happiness. I wanted to teach her, direct her, and love her. During this time, nothing else in the world mattered, but unfortunately, I was about to experience the worst storm I could ever imagine.

Lily was only 3 ½ months old when I was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma. However, the most shattering part of my diagnosis was the fact that I could only have 15 more months without immediate aggressive treatment. I am so lucky to have had my husband at this moment. Because I was in such
a state of shock, I could not process or make the decision of where to go for my treatment. Fortunately, Cameron made the decision to go to Boston to see one of the best mesothelioma doctors in the field. I had surgery, which involved the removal of my left lung, the lining of my heart, and the lining of my diaphragm.

My recovery period consisted of 18 more days in the hospital. In addition to this recovery period, I also spent two weeks at an outpatient facility and two months at my parents’ home in South Dakota. After the recovery period, I returned to Minnesota and began chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

I am no different from any other mother; I simply made the needed sacrifices to be with my daughter and watch her grow up. I had to sacrifice the entire sixth month of Lily’s life, which was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. On the other side, from that I gained the courage to face a life-threatening surgery and other treatment procedures.

Mesothelioma is a devastating disease, and it kills almost 95% of the people diagnosed. However, motherhood gave me the strength I needed to fight this disease. When Lily notes that she saved my life, she could not be more correct.

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