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
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/
- Pleural mesothelioma (lovemira.wordpress.com)
- Treatment Of Malignant Mesothelioma (lovemira.wordpress.com)
- Guest Post: My Fight Against Mesothelioma (girlsvsblog.wordpress.com)
- Mesothelioma – What Is Mesothelioma? (healthybodylife.com)