Saturday, 4 August 2012

Guest Blog: Heather Von St James - Survivor!

Hello folks,
Longest time. Hope you're all doing good. I've been busy enjoying as much of the good weather (as and when possible), the Olympics, and de-cluttering my home over the last few weeks (6 full sacks sent to charity, not even counting the pieces of furniture I've put out too). Your girl has been seriously downsizing. And I'm loving it!

Now to title of this post. My very first guest post. I was approached by this lovely lady, I went on to her blog and I just had to share her story. She's an inspiration! Please read her story and check out her blog - www.mesothelioma.com.


Mesothelioma: My support system
Having a baby is one of the most remarkable moments in a mother's life. For me, pregnancy was smooth and everything leading up to the day was very easy. On August 4, 2005, the big day arrived. My daughter, Lily, was born with all ten fingers and toes via emergency C-section. Just like at every other monumental moment in my life, my loved ones were there to surround my husband and I. Everything was just as it should be at such a time.
My wish was to stay at home with Lily, but responsibility called and I went back to work. She was roughly a month old at the time and I was feeling run down. I figured it was post pregnancy fatigue. However, as I got back into my work schedule, I was out of breath, tired and lacking energy. I knew this was not just a case of being tired after having a child, so I called my doctor. I went in for a visit and had a few tests that proved I was right.
I was not just sick. I was very sick. On November 21, 2005, I found out that I had malignant pleuralmesothelioma. Lily was not even four months old yet and her mom had cancer. I did not know it then, but I had been exposed to asbestos 30 years earlier when I was just a kid. It had caused major problems in one of my lungs.
I was told that I would not live more than 15 months if I did not get treatment right away. This was not a choice. I had an infant and a wonderful husband at home. We were supposed to be going through a great time together. I could not imagine them having to go through it without me, so I had to defend myself, as well as my village. Because the mesothelioma was very bad, the treatment had to be severe and the best available.
My friends and family came to the rescue. My parents took Lily to their home in South Dakota where her mom had been raised. My husband and I went to Boston to get help from the best mesothelioma doctor we could find. His treatment was drastic. I had an extrapleural pneumenectomy on February 2, 2006. In other words, my left lung and the tissue around it were removed. I stayed in the hospital for 18 days after the surgery, recovered for another two months and then went on to the next phase-- radiation and chemotherapy.
 
I started the process with a lovely support system from people around me, as I went through recovery, it got bigger. In Boston, there were people going through what we were going through. They became our friends and our support. In South Dakota, Lily and my parents tacked on a few helpers of their own. Locals and people from my past stepped up to help my parents. I never thought we would all have to go through this. Being a mother is a full-time job and I had to rely on others to do it while I got better. I had to win so I could get back to the most important job of my life.
Today, I am cancer free, thanks to my lovely Lily and my friends and family. I could not have won my battle with cancer without them. Remember always to treat life as precious and to appreciate the people you love. You’ll never know when your life could depend on them.



Heather Von St James is a 43-year-old wife and mother. Upon her diagnosis of mesothelioma, she vowed to be a source of hope for other patients who found themselves with the same diagnosis. Now, over 6 years later, her story has been helping people all over the globe. She continues her advocacy and awareness work by blogging, speaking and sharing her message of hope and healing with others. Check out her story at the MesotheliomaCancer Alliance Blog.

Heather, I think you're a courageous woman! Keep up the good work. You and your family are in my prayers.

xoxox

4 comments:

  1. Wow..Thank God for healing..:) Thanks for sharing your story Heather.Its in sync with the convo i had today to appreaciate your loved ones and those around you..I pray the lord who started this will make it permanent..Beautiful family...

    Ms BUUUUUUUUUKI!!!!!where have you been? I can see you have been busy o, so do I get a souvenir from the Olympics ? :) Miss you..

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    1. Awww. Bless you Gold. Amen to your prayer for Heather. xx
      Yes o, I have been so busy. How have you been? I've been neglecting blogville and it's not good. Hope all is well with you. xxx

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  2. Amazing story. Thanks for sharing this inspiring story. The whole process must have been nerve-racking considering she just had a baby. So glad you won the war Heather. Life indeed is a gift.

    Miss Buki, where have you been hiding? Olympics yaff finish o. Just checking up :)

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  3. Wow, thank God. You definitely have a purpose to fulfil here. Thanks for sharing.

    Ms Buki I have missed thee o.

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