Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Heather's Story

Today it's my pleasure to introduce you to a truly wonderful woman, inside and out! I want you guys to meet Heather. She's a mom to a beautiful little girl named Lily and is one of the strongest cancer survivors I know! Her story hit close to home with me after loosing my grandmother to breast cancer In September. Please take the time to read her beautiful story! Also feel free to visit her own blog HERE.



With Cancer Comes the Good and the Bad

After my daughter was born on August 2, 2005, I really learnedwhat it meant when people say that it takes a village to raise a child. AfterLily’s birth, our village appeared. We were elated to have her in our lives andmy parents, my in-laws, our friends, and our family members made it a point tovisit as often as possible to love, care for, and help us with our newborndaughter. We were so happy with how well everything in our life was going. Wehad no idea how much that was going to change in such a short time.

When I went back to work after my maternity leave, I began feelingstrange. I had no energy, I was breathless, and I was tired. While it seemed Iwas just a new mom, I knew it was something else. After several tests, mydoctor gave me the bad news; I was diagnosed withmalignant pleural mesothelioma. This form of cancer isbased in the lung, and it is caused by asbestos exposure, which happened to meunknowingly as a child. To say I was shocked and stunned is an understatement. Evenworse, the doctor told me I had 15 months to live if I opted not to havetreatment. My first thought was of my daughter and my husband. I looked at themand knew that I had to do whatever it took to stay alive and be there for bothof them.

“Whatever it took” included going to Boston to be under the careof one of the best mesothelioma doctors there is. In February 2006 I had extrapleuralpneumonectomy surgery to remove my left lung. I recovered in the hospital for 18 days.While I was there, my daughter was in South Dakota being raised in the house Igrew up in by my parents. I was missing everything, and only seeing thingsthrough grainy black and white photos of Lily that my mom would send. Our‘village’ really came through during this time. Girls I babysat as a teen thathad their own families now, old friends, old church friends, and family offeredto watch my daughter while my parents worked – they both had full time jobs,too. They loved and supported my parents and Lily and I am so grateful to them.I truly can never repay all the people who helped along the way. As a mother,all you truly want for your kids is the absolute best... and I know that whileLily was away from me, she was completely in the best hands possible.

I was fighting for my life because of my daughter, and even thoughI was missing part of her life, her first time rolling over, and eating realfood, I was doing it all for her. There is a bond between Lily and my parentsthat is totally unbreakable now despite the months that sometimes go betweenvisits. Now, we embrace everything that life hands us. Despite the horror of mycancer battle, a lot of good came from that, and we choose to focus on the goodthat comes with the bad, and that makes us thankful.


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