Thank you to my special guest, Heather,  for sharing her story about facing malignant pleural mesothelioma, a form of cancer that is caused by exposure to asbestos.  I suggest checking out the sites in Heather’s story to learn more about this type of cancer.

Keeping a Positive Attitude as I Faced Cancer
family - PortlandOne of the most challenging years of my life began when my daughter, Lily, was born.  While the August 4, 2005, birth was a joyful time, my recovery didn’t seem to be normal.  I knew that I would be tired at first, but when my energy continued to be non-existent, I started to worry.  Extreme weight loss added to my concern, as I was losing about 5 to 7 pounds per week.  My doctor ordered some tests to see if we could pinpoint the problem.  I wasn’t prepared for the result.

My daughter was three and a half months old when I got the diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma.  Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos exposure, and my exposure as a child was responsible for the grim prospects I was now facing.  Without treatment, I would only be expected to live for another 15 months.  Of course, this wasn’t even a consideration for us.  My husband and I knew that we had to take extreme measures for Lily’s sake.

My parents took Lily in while my husband and I flew to Boston. My surgery, called an Extrapleural pneumonectomy  was performed by one of the top specialists in the field.  After the February 2, 2006 removal of my lung, I spent 18 days in recovery in the hospital.  My parents cared for Lily in my childhood home of South Dakota. I kept up through pictures and notes of encouragement.  The hospital staff became a great source of encouragement.  After my stay in Boston, I spent another two months recuperating.  This was followed by radiation and chemotherapy.

My parents were surrounded by their own set of encouragers. Friends assisted with watching Lily when my parents had to work.  Kids I used to babysit were able to watch my own daughter.  Lily became mobile and learned to eat solid foods during this time.  I missed some of those dreamed of firsts so that I could be there later on.

Cancer was not an easy thing.  However, it taught me to treasure each day.  I appreciate each person who provided care or kind words.  You can’t afford to refuse the help of good friends and family when you are in a battle for life.  Finding the good in tough situations is what is most important.  Your attitude can make a huge difference in the outcome.