|Heather pictured with her husband, Cam and daughter, Lily|
I was finally ready to be a mom. When I got pregnant, I was determined that nothing was going to surprise me; I read all the books, ate healthy foods and visited the right doctors. Throughout this time, I began planning for my new life that would revolve around my baby. As a matter of fact, my life already revolved around my unborn child. This period was a very exciting one, and after nine months, when I first saw Lily, I truly felt like I was the luckiest person in the world.
Unfortunately, I wasn't as prepared as I thought. Three months after Lily was born, my doctor informed me that I had contracted pleural mesothelioma cancer. Nothing prepared me for that diagnosis. To make matters worse, if I wasn't treated right away, I would only have 15 months left to live. At this point, I just knew that I had to do everything in my power to raise my daughter Lily.
My husband and I decided that I should travel to Boston to receive mesothelioma treatment from the city's experts. When I left my baby girl 1200 miles away, I was heartbroken, but I knew that I had to undergo treatment in order to survive. I would fight for Lily to make sure that I would be there to see her grow up.
As I left and went across the country for my treatment, I missed a whole month of Lily's new life. During the surgery, doctors removed my left lung, my heart's lining and my diaphragm. The rest of my treatment, chemotherapy and radiation, consumed the first year of my daughter's life. My parents took Lily into their home so she could have some stability. Thankfully, I have a supportive husband and an entire network of people who came together to offer moral support.
Once back home, Lily and I enjoyed our precious time together. We played outside, went to the park and took walks together. Most of all, I recognized the value of our relationship and cherished each minute that I was able to spend with her. After my fight with mesothelioma, I only wanted to sit with Lily, so she could see how much I truly loved her.
As I look back, eight years later, I realize that not much has really changed since Lily was born. Cam, my husband, and I still love our daughter, and we feel truly blessed to have such an optimistic and beautiful little girl. Our daughter is not only bright and upbeat but also knows the true value of life. Lily is aware of the turmoil that our family went through, and we're grateful for every day we spend together. Even if she can't recall her first year and my struggle with cancer, I will never forget. During those tough times, nobody quite knew what to expect, but we did the best we could and managed to come out together on the other side.
Fighting mesothelioma cancer was a harrowing experience, but a lot of good things seemed to grow out of the bad. Now, our family is close than ever, and we realize that nothing should be taken for granted. I like to share my story with others, so that they can see that they're not alone, and that there is a way to make it through the darkest hours.
|Lily and Heather|
I hope that you will visit Heather's website to learn more about mesothelioma and Heather's triumph over the illness.