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Thursday, December 15, 2011

One Inspiring Mom!

I got an email a few weeks ago from Heather. She shared her story of surviving cancer, parenting, and her heart to share her story with other moms. Heather is currently cancer free, and she wants to "turn her pain into purpose". Beautiful!

One of the reasons I fell in love with blogging was because of the amazing opportunity we all have to encourage one another. Heather inspired me. She's a fighter. She has an amazing attitude and outlook on parenting. Whether our trials are the same or different, we can all learn from each other. We can all be inspired!

I think it will be easy to see why I fell in love with Heather. Please read her post and then visit her blog.
heather and lily

During my pregnancy I chose to do everything “right” in order to prepare for giving birth to a healthy baby and being the best mother possible. I kept a healthy diet. I went to every doctor’s appointment. I read all the parenting books that I could get my hands on. I was determined to be prepared for motherhood. I was not prepared, however, for the diagnosis that came shortly after I became a mother.

When my daughter, Lily, was three months old I was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs. My husband and I decided that I would
have to have surgery 1,200 miles away from my home. It was a hard decision but we both knew it was the right one. I would also face chemotherapy and radiation as a part of the treatment. All of this, and I still had an infant to care for.

No books, no level of preparation, can ready you to face a cancer diagnosis. I just decided to do what I thought was best for my daughter. When I had my surgery, she was living with my parents. I wanted her to have consistency and familiarity. She could have that with them. After the surgery I surrounded myself with people who could help me with Lily. I was not capable of fulfilling all of Lily’s needs and I needed help.

Lily’s first year of life consisted of me undergoing constant treatments. There were days I felt good, and I would do everything I could possibly do to make life normal. We went out for play dates, trips to the park, shopping at the mall, and sometimes just to the backyard to play. There were other days where we would spend time together inside. I just wanted to make sure she knew that no matter what happened she was the thing that mattered most to me. She truly was the reason I continue breathing, continue living.

A mother wants to do everything for a child but a cancer patient has to consider her own health first and foremost. A mother who is a cancer patient will find that balancing these two aspects of life is difficult. My husband was amazing at helping to fill in where I could not. When I was sick he did everything that I could not. Lily never knew anything different.

Six years later, we still continue on with the same parenting style. We take turns and we compromise; when I am unable to fulfill Lily’s needs, my husband steps in. We do not hide the cancer diagnosis from Lily because it is such a significant part of her history. We have an open and honest relationship. She is in first grade now. I know that the first year of her life, no matter how hectic, helped to make her the bright and happy girl she is today.

If I were given the chance to go back in time and change things, I don’t know if I would. Cancer, no matter how bad, can bring good. The ideas that we choose to dwell on and the mood that we choose to have help to shape our lives.

See what I mean? Pretty amazing mom.
Heather Von St. James is a guest blogger for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.
Please see more of Heather's writing HERE and leave her some comment love! You can also find her on twitter and facebook.  


At December 16, 2011 at 7:20 PM , Blogger MiMi said...

That's astounding.

At December 17, 2011 at 7:28 AM , Blogger Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

Such wonderful optimism. She's an inspiration!

At December 18, 2011 at 2:06 PM , Blogger Patrice said...

Very inspiring

At December 19, 2011 at 11:38 PM , Blogger Helene said...

Wow! I'm in awe of her positive outlook...she is very inspiring!


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