Tag Archives: Cancer

Guest Post: My Fight Against Mesothelioma

By Heather Von St. James


I did everything to prepare myself for motherhood. I read pregnancy books, made

changes to my diet, and visited the best doctors. I spent a considerable amount of

time planning my new life around my future child. After I gave birth, being a mother

was just what I had expected. When I saw Lily for the very first time, I felt like I was

the luckiest person in the whole universe.

Despite all the preparation for motherhood, the unexpected happened. I got

diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma just 3 ½ months after giving birth. My doctor

informed me that I would need to start treatment immediately or else I would have 15

months left to live. I realized I would need to gather all the courage I had in order to

survive and raise my daughter.

My husband and I decided that I should receive mesothelioma treatment in Boston.

This was a difficult decision for me to make, as it required me leaving Lily 1200 miles

away. Instead of spending time with my daughter, I was fighting for my life.

When I had my surgery, I didn’t see Lily for a whole month. During this time, I

underwent a surgery that required removing my left lung, as well as the lining of my

diaphragm and heart. The rest of the treatment, which required chemotherapy and

radiation, took a year to complete. Luckily, my parents offered to take care of Lily

in order to provide her with stability. I was also lucky enough to have a supportive

husband, as well as many other people in my life that did their best to help me

through this extremely difficult time.

Once I returned home, I was determined to do everything I could to be present in my

daughter’s life. We would take walks together, go to the park and play outside. Even

though at times I didn’t have the energy I desired, I still treasured every second we

were together.

In some ways, there is not much that has changed during the past eight years since

Lily came into this world. Cam, my husband, and I still cherish every moment we

spend with her. We truly consider ourselves lucky to have such a bright and happy

daughter. As she grew older, she came to better understand the challenges our

family faced and is aware of how happy we are to have her. She doesn’t really have

much recollection of her first year, but for me, it was a time that I will never forget.

Although we did not know what was going to happen, Cam I simply did everything I

could to stay happy and get through this difficult time.

Battling mesothelioma cancer was certainly a terrifying experience. Despite all the

bad, a lot of good has come from my fight. Our family has learned to take nothing

for granted and the difficult times we’ve shared have brought us closer than ever. I

shared my story with you so that others who are facing similar challenges can know

that you can stay positive as you battle your fights and know that you are not in this



You can find Heather here: http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/heather/



Filed under Family, Motherhood