Thursday, November 17, 2011

Inspirational Guest Post

Heather at
With Cancer, it takes a village of love

I’m going to tell you a story about love and survival, and a little girl named Lily whose love encouraged her mom to beat the odds.

Have ever heard the saying, “It takes a village?” My daughter was born on August 4th, 2005 and the "village" began to take shape around my new family. It included family and friends welcoming Lily to the world.

Looking back, I now realize this was the calm before the storm.

Before Lily, I was part owner in a successful salon company, personally overseeing twenty employees. Going back to work after having Lily, I started to deteriorate physically. I lost weight at a pace of five to seven pounds per week. During a doctor's visit in November, I explained my symptoms, and after some blood work, and a chest X-ray, they found the culprit: fluid buildup around my left lung. More tests were run, scans taken, biopsies done... and I finally got the diagnosis on November 21, 2005. Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma, a cancer in the lining of the lung, caused primarily by
asbestos exposure I had endured as a child.

The prognosis was grim, fifteen months to live if I didn't act fast. I was in mom mode, so I was worried for Lily, not for myself. My husband and I flew to Boston, and on February 2nd, I underwent treatment called
Extrapleural Pneumenectomy, requiring the removal of my left lung, all the surrounding tissue, lymph nodes, diaphragm on the left side, the lining of my heart, and one of my ribs. This was topped off with a heated chemo wash, an eighteen-day hospital recovery, and additional two months recovery before chemotherapy and radiation.

In the midst of this I discovered that it truly does take a village. We could not have done it if our village did not surround us with love, support and prayers. Lily lived with my parents in South Dakota while we were in Boston. Everyone from family friends to church members chipped in helping my parents care for Lily as they worked full time. My parents emailed me photos of Lily learning to eat food, scoot, and roll around. For me, it was all about Lily.

Five years later, it's still all about Lily. I never did go back to work. We try as a family to really embrace life, in all its fragility. We also see the gentle hand of God in all these events.

Lily knows it take a village. I make sure she knows that. Cancer is a funny thing. With the bad, comes a lot of good. I have seen the extremes of both, and in the end, I am alive and thankful.

1 comment:

  1. Please email me! I have a question about your blog! :)