Friday, December 28, 2012

Guest post Heather- Living with cancer

Yesterday, I told the story of my mom's loosing battle with cancer, my story.
Today, I have a guest post from the other side.... a parent with cancer.
Praise God, it has a good ending!
She asked me if I would be willing to share her story on my blog and I agreed.
This is Heather and her daughter, Lily.... and this is her story.
Living With Cancer
You know the old saying about children needing an entire village to help raise them? This is so true. I learned this myself after my daughter was born. It was 2005 and it was a good year, at least to start with. On August 4, 2005, our sweet Lily entered the world. My husband’s family, my family, and all of our friends surrounded us with love and support when Lily arrived. Life was good. However, it wasn’t so good when I had to go back to work and began feeling ill. At first, I thought it might have just been new mom stuff, but eventually I knew that the exhaustion, fatigue, lack of energy, and breathlessness that I was experiencing was something else.
Three and a half months after giving birth, on November 21, 2005, I was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure, which I’d unknowingly had as a child. My doctor told me that without treatment I’d live for about 15 months. I knew that was not an option, and as any mother would, I did what I had to do to keep myself alive and be there to raise Lily.
What I had to do included flying to Boston. This is where we would meet Dr. David Sugarbaker, one of the best mesothelioma doctors in the country. In February, he performed my extrapleural pneumonectomy surgery, which included the removal of my left lung. I spent nearly three weeks recovering. That was followed by two months of recovery time and then chemo and radiation as well. During my time in Boston, I met other people who were going through the same things that I was. These amazing people became my friends, and they helped me get through each and every day. While I was in Boston, my daughter lived with my parents in South Dakota, in my childhood home.
Since my parents worked full time, they had their own little village. They were surrounded by love and support and encouragement from the people who they go to church with. Kids I babysat as a teen were all grown up with their own families, and they even volunteered to watch Lily during the day when my parents were at work. It was a wonderful thing. I knew that my baby was in good hands, but it was hard being away from her and seeing her milestones only through the pictures my husband printed from my mom’s emails.
Cancer taught my family a lot. It’s horrible, but even with the bad came a lot of good. We know now that life is not meant to be taken for granted, and we try to spend every single day being thankful for all of the good that we have in our lives. For that, I am thankful.
Heather, her husband and Lily
THANK YOU Heather for sharring your story!!!
*****Cancer is such a horrible thing to go through. Not only did I have to deal with my mother dying of cancer, but my grandmother has survived  breast and stomach cancer and my grandfather has survived prostate and throat cancer. If there are precautions that we can take to not get it, then do it. I know how much it sucks to not have a mother around and I know that none of you want that for your children!!*****

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