Heather Von St. James is 44 and a mother to a quirky 7 year old, Lily. Liiy is her only child, and was just 3.5 months old when their lives were turned upside down. She was diagnosed with mesothelioma; a type of cancer that sadly kills 90 – 95% of people who have it.
After an intense treatment and recovery journey, Heather is cancer free 7 years later! Her experience was a difficult one to say the least – but she wants to turn her pain in to purpose and become someone that other people can look to for guidance, inspiration, and hope in situations like her own. Her story is inspiring and one I could not imagine going through.
Heather is a guest blogger on Momee Friends and here is her story:
Fighting for my Life
I have always wanted to become a mother. When I found out I was pregnant, I did everything I could to avoid any surprises. I ate all the right foods, read all the books I could find, and attended regular doctor appointments. I spent my days imaging how I would spend my time with my newborn and how my life would soon revolve around my baby. After nine months of planning, my perfect little girl, Lily, came into our lives and filled it with joy. At that moment, I felt as if I were the luckiest person in the world.
3 ½ months later, my life was turned upside-down. My doctor diagnosed me with pleural mesothelioma cancer. The prognosis was even more frightening. Without treatment, I would have only 15 months left to live. The fight was on to do everything I could in order to raise my daughter.
My husband I decided that I would travel to Boston to receive mesothelioma treatment from top mesothelioma doctors. This meant leaving Lily 1200 miles behind for an entire month. Those days I had planned for raising Lily were turned into days trying to save my life.
In Boston, I underwent surgery, which required the removal of my lung, diaphragm and the lining of my heart. I spent the rest of Lily’s first year receiving radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Luckily, my parents took Lily during this time in order for her to experience a sense of stability while I was fighting for my life. I have a caring husband who supported our family and me during this time.
When I returned home, I spent most of my time playing outside with Lily, going on walks, going to the park and arranging play dates. At times I didn’t have enough energy for these activities but I was still able to cherish every moment and showed how much I loved her.
Eight years later, it seems as though little has changed. My husband, Cam, and I appreciate Lily more each day. We are thankful to have such a beautiful, optimistic girl who knows the value of life and what we went through as a family. Lily may not remember what we went through during the first year of her life but I will certainly not forget. We weren’t sure what to expect during this time but we were able to stick together as a family.
Facing cancer was terrifying but looking back I am now able to see the good that came out of this horrific situation. Now, our family is closer than ever and we learned not to take anything for granted. I share my story for those faced with difficult battles to provide hope and to know that you are not alone.
Read more about Heather and her journey by going to the Mesothelioma website and viewing Heather Von St. James. On the website you will be able to watch a video of Heather’s journey (it is a little under 4 minutes long). I know it touched my heart and I am sure it will touch yours. I hugged my daughter Mia a little harder after watching her story.
Please share her story and help raise awareness. Heather is an amazing woman, courageous mother and Mesothelioma Survivor and I am so happy to share her story with all of you.
After watching her video: I say keep those rose colored glasses on and always stay positive because there is HOPE.
Thank you Heather for your inspiring story… you are the picture of HOPE! xoxooxox
If you would like to make a donation please do so by going to the ADAO (Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization) website —–> Donate Here
- Mesothelioma Community Website Mesothelioma.net Launched by Danziger and De Llano, LLP (prweb.com)
- Guest Post: My Fight Against Mesothelioma (girlsvsblog.wordpress.com)
- What does Mesothelioma Effect (groupproject5.wordpress.com)