Cancer's Life Lessons

I received an email a few weeks ago from a woman who wanted to share her story. On my blog! I've never had a guest post before but as soon as she told me a little about herself I knew I had to have her share. Heather is an amazing, beautiful, courageous woman who's had to endure more than anyone ever should. Please take the time to read her story below.

Thank you, Heather, for giving me the opportunity to share your story!

Three and a half months after our daughter was born in 2005, I was diagnosed with mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos as a child. It was during this time that I learned what it means when people say it takes a village to raise a child. Our lives went from happy and full to sad and difficult in a matter of minutes. Lily was born on August 4, 2005. Our home was full of people. My family, my husband’s family, and our friends were always around to be with little Lily. We felt like life was perfect until that November 21st day when my doctor gave me the bad news.

I looked at my husband and daughter and thought about the grim news we’d just received. Without treatment, I had 15 months to live. I knew then that I would do whatever it took to live for those two. My doctor gave me 3 options, good better and best. We decided on the best option, which was also the most drastic. We had to send Lily to live with my parents in South Dakota so my husband and I could go to Boston. It was there that I met with one of the best mesothelioma doctors around, Dr. David Sugarbaker. On February 2, 2006, he removed my left lung. For 18 days, I lived in the hospital recovering. I met people in the hospital going through the same thing as me, and they helped me make it through each day. I spent another two months recovering my body before starting chemotherapy and radiation.

My mom and dad were caring for my Lily. They had full time jobs, however, so they relied on the help that was offered to them by our friends, family, and even the kids I used to babysit as a teenager. They are all grown up and have families of their own, and they were so kind to help take care of my daughter while my parents were at work. Without them, we never could have done what we did. I am so thankful.

Cancer is an ugly thing, but it’s also a funny thing. We learned how horrible it is, but we also learned that something good came from my cancer. Lily now has a bond with my parents that is unlike anything else and can never be changed, despite the miles and time that sometimes go between visits. We learned that life is special, and we really have to spend every single day focusing on the good in life and being thankful for the things we have and the people we love.

You can follow Heather here!

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