I was contacted recently by Heather a 44 year old mother to a quirky little 7 year old girl, Lily. She told me a little bit about her story and asked if she could share it on my blog (which of course I said yes! as I love to hear from other Mums and their story of being a parent). When Lily was 3 1/2 months old, Heather was diagnosed with Mesothelioma; a type of cancer that kills 90 to 95% of those who have it. I’m sure you can all imagine what would be going through your mind if you received such news!!

Her journey like everyone else that faces cancer was terrifying!! This is her guest post, explaining her journey and will hopefully reach out to those of you that find yourself in a similar situation, who are looking for guidance and inspiration with their own battles.

Whenever my seven-year-old daughter hears anything about cancer, she always notes that she saved my life. She has said this so often that it is as common as saying that she needs something to eat. Many people do not know that what she says is true, but I will always be the first to say that she is definitely right.

My husband Cameron and I had been married seven years before we thought about having kids. I was 35, so I was a little apprehensive about having kids at an older age. I did not really think about how long it would take to become pregnant, but three months later, I was indeed pregnant! Just like any mother, I was so excited, shocked, and nervous. It did not take long for me to start having my motherly instincts. I would rub my belly and get excited knowing that our child was growing inside of me. Throughout the pregnancy, I would always wonder what type of mom I was going to be.

For the most part, I had a smooth pregnancy. As we neared the due date, Lily was breech; therefore, I had to have a C-section. Even with this situation, I still looked at the bright side of things. When I finally held her, I knew that I would do everything that I possibly could to give her a life of protection, love, and happiness. My world was absolutely perfect at this time. As a matter of fact, it was so perfect that I never imagined that I was about to experience an incredible storm.

It was only 3 ½ months after Lily’s birth that I learned that I had malignant pleural mesothelioma. My doctor told me that without treatment, I would only have 15 months to live. After the diagnosis, I sat in a state of shock and disbelief. I could not imagine leaving Lily and my husband Cameron all alone. While I sat there thinking, Cameron made the decision for us to go to Boston for my treatment. I would be under the care of one of the world’s best mesothelioma doctors, but it also meant that I would have to have my left lung, my diaphragm, and my heart’s lining all removed. For 18 days, I had to stay in the hospital for my recovery. Afterwards, I spent two weeks in an outpatient facility and two months at my parent’s home in South Dakota. Lily had been staying with my parents during this time. They went from being grandparents to full time caretakers. The most wonderful, helpful people surrounded my parents and helped to raise Lily during that time, and I could not be more thankful to them. Finally, I returned home to Minnesota and began having chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Just like any other mother would have done, I decided to make sacrifices to ensure that I would be in my daughter’s life for many years. In my case, I had to sacrifice being away from Lily for her entire sixth month of life. This was an extremely difficult decision, but I knew that Lily needed me to live; therefore, I had the courage to go through all of my treatment procedures.

Mesothelioma is a dire disease, but because I was a mother, I had the strength to keep fighting. Because I knew that Lily needed me, I was able to try to make it through each day. Therefore, when Lily says that she saved my life, she is 100% correct. She gave me all the courage I needed to fight.

Heather and her Family

What an inspiration Heather is to all of who face health battles. Our children may be only young but they are often who we look to for inspiration and courage during tough times. It’s so wonderful to hear that after all the intense treatment and long recovery, Heather is still here almost 7 years later and cancer free!

If you would like to read more about Heather, her story and this horrible form of cancer that is such a deadly killer (however, 100% preventable) please head over to her blog. The more people that we can inform about the dangers of asbestos to prevent others contracting this horrible disease, the better!

A big thanks to Heather, from all the way over in the States for sharing with us, you are a true inspiration and survivor!!!

Categories: Guest Blog

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