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Tuscaloosa,, Alabama, United States
"For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." Romans 8:14-17

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"Motherhood is a Great Reason to Fight Cancer"

I'm pleased to be able to have a "feature author" on my blog!  Heather Von St. James is a seven year Mesothelioma Cancer SURVIVOR!  Her story is one that brings hope to those of us with very aggressive cancers!  Please read her story below and if you want to learn more about her, please visit her BLOG at www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/heather/


Motherhood is a Great Reason to Fight Cancer
A gut-wrenching situation like cancer can really change your life. I was 36 when it happened to me. I never expected that the high point and the low point in my life could occur at almost the same time. I went from pure joy to deep sadness very quickly. The happiest day was August 4, 2005, when my daughter Lily was brought into the world. It was an absolutely amazing moment for me, my husband and our whole family. Unfortunately the bliss faded really quickly.

I returned to work one month after Lily was born. The work routine left me feeling exhausted. I was tired all the time, and I was losing around five and seven pounds each week. Caring for an infant daughter and working a full-time job took a toll, but I knew that something else was wrong.

It was about 14 weeks after Lily's birth when tests finally came back. We assumed that it was something small, something that could be resolved easily and quickly. Unfortunately, the test results came back a lot more serious than we thought. I had malignant pleural mesothelioma, an extremely rare but deadly type of cancer that attacks the lining of the lungs and is linked to asbestos exposure. I had inadvertently been exposed to asbestos as a child. The prognosis was a life expectancy of 15 months if I didn't start treatment.

The diagnosis was crushing. All I could think of was my daughter and how she and my husband would cope without me. My husband and I decided that we had to do everything that we could, and I selected the most aggressive treatment option. We traveled from Minnesota to a Boston cancer clinic to visit one of the top mesothelioma doctors in the nation. While in Boston, on February 2, 2006 I underwent an extrapleural pneumonectomy, an invasive surgical procedure to remove cancerous parts of the lung, diaphragm, chest lining and heart lining. I spent 18 days in the hospital, and it was another two months before I began radiation and chemotherapy.

During my stay in Boston, Lily flew with my mother and stayed at her grandparent's house in South Dakota. I missed some important milestones, including Lily's first bites of solid food, but my parents were there to see it all. Being away from Lily was one of the biggest challenges, but I knew that everything I was doing to fight the cancer was for Lily and so that she would have a mother throughout her life.

As hard as it was, my experience with cancer also brought some good. We are closer than ever as a family, and we all have a deeper appreciation for life. My daughter and my family are the reason that I am here for them today. To make it through, you need to discover what you live for and find the best in every situation.

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