Here is a guest post written by Heather who is a Mother and has Mesothelioma. Here is her story, and how she wants to help others. She’d like to turn mher pain into purpose and become someone that other parents can look to for guidance, inspiration, and hope in situations like her own.
When someone has a baby, people throw around the saying “It takes a village.” Well, I came to find out that saying is true, because I lived it myself. On August 4th, 2005 my daughter was born after I had an uncomplicated pregnancy. Not much morning sickness–or evening or afternoon, for that matter. But we found out when I was about to deliver that she was coming out butt end first. The doctors quickly did a C-section and we had a healthy baby. At that point, our “village” came around us right away. They were my parents, my husband’s family and a lot of friends who came by to meet baby Lily. Everything was going good, and we were not at all prepared for what was about to happen to us.
Things change when a baby comes. Until Lily was born I ran a salon in a large business that had three of them, and I was part owner. I had 20-some employees and also worked at a chair myself. After I was home a few weeks, I went back to work but I was not happy to leave my baby. After I worked about a month, I started to feel tired and out of breath, with no energy. I thought it was one of the changes from having a baby. Then I started to lose a lot of weight–up to seven pounds a week. I did not think that was normal, and went to the doctor in November. I explained my symptoms and after blood tests and an X-ray of my chest, they found out I had fluid around my left lung. Then a scan and more tests were done, and biopsies. On November 21, 2005, when Lily was three and a half months old, I was told I had malignant pleural mesothelioma–cancer in the lung lining caused by being exposed to asbestos. It turns out I was exposed to asbestos in childhood, and here I was, 30 years later, with mesothelioma.
I thought first of my baby and my husband, and we knew we had to do everything we could to save my life, because if we didn’t, I had 15 months to live. We left Lily with my parents and went to Boston for drastic surgery called extrapleural pneumenectomy, along with radiation and chemotherapy. I was in the hospital 18 days, and took two more months to get back to caring for Lily. I never went back to work because it would be too hard with one lung.
During this whole ordeal, we really learned that our village was people from different parts and times of our lives, and all of them loved and cared for us, and that gave us so much help to go on. Out of bad, comes good at times, and it did for us. Overall, our Faith in God keeps everything going for us, and we have Faith to believe everything will be okay and I will be here to raise our daughter. Embrace life, and remember in dark days other people love you and will help you, and you will be okay again. I am thankful for all the good that came to us through others after a bad diagnosis.
You can read more about Heather and get her full story on The Mesothelioma Cancer Survivor Blog