Hey Friends, meet Heather…
Heather, a sweetheart & courageous lady I ever come across, a mother to a quirky little 6-½ year old, Lily. Her only child and her whole world. When Lily was only 31/2 months old, Heather diagnosed with Mesothelioma; a type of cancer that kills 90-95% of those who have it. How she is overcoming this battle of life… its really tough indeed…perhaps I find myself in Heather.
Here is the guest post by Heather...
|Heather & family|
Overcoming the Hardest Battle of my Life
on November 21st 2005, I received my diagnosis: Malignant pleural mesothelioma. The wall around me started tumbling down, my life flashing before my eyes. My 3 ½ month old baby girl would grow up without a mother, I thought.
My greatest fear had arrived and I did not know what to do with it or how to handle it. Facing a life threating illness was not in my plans for the future, but it would make me realize that I had an inner strength that I did not know I had, and that I was more resilient that I thought.
When I went to see Dr. David Sugarbaker at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, he tried to give me hope. Even though he was the world’s leading mesothelioma doctor, I knew that my chances for survival were pretty much close to nothing. Statistics suggest that only 2% of those affected have a survival rate of over 5 years. I had to make a decision and I had to do it fast. Without hesitation, I determined myself to beat cancer, no matter what it took. Every time it would bring me down I would get right back up and keep on fighting, and that is what I did.
It took every single bit of strength that I had left in my body to fight cancer, but I never gave up. I was determined to do everything in power to have a fighting chance, to see my daughter grow. I underwent surgery to remove my left lung in Boston, and spent the next several months doing radiation and chemo. It wasn’t easy, especially having to raise my daughter under such circumstances. The support that I had from family and friends was amazing. Their help was a tremendous factor in my accomplishments.
When Lily’s first birthday arrived, we celebrated it in a big way. It wasn’t only her first year of life; it was also the near culmination of my battle with cancer. Not too long after that I received my last radiation treatment, and my determination now shifted to giving it my all to remain cancer free.
This battle has taught me a lot. I know look at life in a completely different manner. I notice and take time to enjoy and explore every single thing that life throws my way, no matter how small or insignificant it may be. I love life, I love to be alive, and I want to enjoy every second of it.
Cancer also brought me close to some of the most amazing people that I have ever met, people who fought extremely hard, but unfortunately did not make it, family members who supported their loved ones and sacrificed themselves for them in every possible way. It is them who I constantly think of, and feel inspired to work hard on a daily basis to raise awareness for this terrible disease. Mesothelioma is not just a word, it is not something you hear talked about on television, or radio, or the Internet. Mesothelioma is real, and it affects real people, much more that some would realize.
I enjoy my life immensely and will continue to do so, no matter what. Bad days don’t bring me down, because I am at least lucky enough to have them.