Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mesothelioma: Lessons From A Devastating Disease



The following guest post is from Heather. Seven years ago, she was diagnosed with Mesothelioma, a type of cancer that kills 90-95% of those who have it.  After intense treatment and recovery, she is cancer free! She wants to turn her terrifying journey with cancer into purpose and “become someone that other people can look for guidance, inspiration, and hope” in situations like hers.  You can visit her blog here and know more of her story.




When you look back on your life, there are some moments that always stand out. Some of these moments in my life are wonderful. On August 4, 2005, my husband and I welcomed our daughter, Lily, into the world. Her birth filled us with joy and promise for the future. 





However, not all of the moments in my life have been wonderful. When Lily was just 3 ½ months old, I faced the toughest trial of my life when I found out that I had malignant pleural mesothelioma. Before I received my diagnosis, I knew that something was wrong with me. When I returned to work after my maternity leave, I had no energy. Even though I was eating normally, I was losing weight at a rapid pace of about 5 to 7 pounds per week. Although I knew that something was not right, I never would have guessed that I had cancer.

Mesothelioma is a type of cancer in the lining of the lungs that is caused by asbestos exposure. I later found out that I had been inadvertently exposed to asbestos as a young child. I was shocked to hear the doctor say that he only expected me to live 15 months without treatment.

I thought about my baby daughter, and I knew that giving up was not an option. My husband and I decided that we would fight this disease as hard as we could. In order to get the best treatment, we left our home in Minnesota so that a specialist could oversee my treatment in Boston. On February 2, 2006, I had an extrapleural pneumonectomy surgery. This major surgery removed my left lung along with half of my diaphragm and portions of my heart and chest lining. After 18 days in the hospital, followed by another 2 months of recovery I underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

While I was recovering in the hospital, we knew that Lily needed more care than we could provide, so she temporarily went to live with my parents at my childhood home in South Dakota. I missed many special moments in my daughter's life, but I was fighting so that she would not have to live without her mother.

During my cancer fight, I learned so many valuable lessons. I have never appreciated my family and friends so much, and I will never again take my life or health for granted.




11 comments :

  1. This is a very inspiring story. Whenever I read stories like this, it really makes me realize that no matter what, as long as you believe in miracles and you believe that God is always there for you, you will do everything good for your family. Such touching story. Thanks for sharing. :-)

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  2. nothing but a miracle! it's good to know her story ended positively!

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  3. the thought of this inspiring story is to cherish everyone in your life and enjoy every blessings--may it be small or big, because life is a gift from God.

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  4. you are a very brave woman and you have a moving story

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  5. Heather's courage and strength is inspirational. Truly God works in marvelous ways. God bless to all!

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  6. Just like the song goes, there can really be a miracle, when you believe. Very brave. God bless! :)

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  7. Heather's story is very inspriring. Trials are given by God for us to see the things we have never appreciated before.

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  8. Teh story was really inspiring. Sometimes having positive attitude is a great factor in recovery. the more you think you are sick, the more you will become.

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  9. Oh this such an inspiring story. Heather is a brave woman. I agree with you, our family will always be there for us.

    Mommy Maye2

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  10. Made me teary-eyed. Truly inspiring!

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  11. I grieve whenever I hear such story but the transformation with the help of family is wonderful. My grandmother's siblings all died of cancer and another one is battling with cancer too. The three are healthy so far and I hope my lola will not have it.

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