Today's post is a little different than any other. In fact, it's VERY different. Today we have Heather as our guest and she has a very moving story to share with us all. I hope you enjoy Heather's story as much as I did!
And now, I introduce to you, Heather!
Hi, I'm Heather and I am 44 and a mother to a quirky 7 year old, Lily. She is my only child, and was just 3.5 months old when our lives were turned upside down. I was diagnosed with mesothelioma; a type of cancer that sadly kills 90 – 95% of people who have it.
I have always dreamed of motherhood. When I finally became pregnant, I was determined that there would be no surprises. I read the right books, ate the right foods, and saw all the right doctors. During the day, I thought about how my life would soon revolve around my new baby. When I finally got to see Lily nine months later, I knew how fortunate I was.
3 ½ months after giving birth I found out that I hadn’t planned for everything. My doctor diagnosed me with pleural mesothelioma cancer. The prognosis was even scarier. I was informed that without treatment, I could only expect to live another 15 months. I immediately knew that I had to do everything it took in order to beat this and raise my new daughter.
My husband and I decided that it would be best for me to receive treatment in Boston, MA from the top specialists in mesothelioma. This meant leaving Lily 1200 miles away while I received treatment. During this time, I underwent surgery, which consisted of removing my left lung as well as the lining of my diaphragm and heart. For the remainder of Lily’s first year I received chemotherapy and radiation. I am thankful that my parents cared for Lily during this time in order to provide her with a sense of stability while I was busy fighting for my life. I am lucky to have a caring husband along with a group of people who supported me during this trying time.
When I finally returned home, I was determined to spend as much time as I could with Lily. We went on walks, played in the park, and arranged play dates. Those times where I didn’t have enough energy for these activities we just sat together and rested. I cherished every moment I got to spend with her.
It has been eight years and it still feels as though not much has changed. Cam and I love Lily more each day. She is a beautiful, optimistic girl who has a great appreciation for life. Although she may not remember what we endured as a family, I know I will never forget.
Battling mesothelioma was a terrifying experience. Looking back, we have gained a great deal of good out of such a difficult time. We are now closer than ever and have learned to never take anything for granted. I share my story for those enduring life’s hardships to provide a sense of hope and to know that you are not alone.