Heather Von St. James

God is the source for all of my joys and blessings, and I’d be wrong not to give Him credit for the ways he works in my life.

With this being said, today I’d like to share a post from Heather Von St. James, a Mesothelioma survivor who writes for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog.  Heather is a rare survivor of this deadly form of cancer, and her remission from the disease is evidence that miracles still happen every day and there is hope for everyone suffering from any affliction.

I hope you enjoy this post, and without further ado, here is Heather’s story…

My Battle With Mesothelioma

Judging by the pregnancy, there was never a sign that the slightest thing would be wrong with me. Before Lily was born Aug. 4, 2005, I had a nearly flawless pregnancy. I had no complications, hardly any morning sickness and no worries at all other than a C-section. She entered the world surrounded by a virtual village of supportive family members and friends.

It wasn’t too long before things changed. I was the part owner of a large and successful salon company with three locations, and soon after she after was born I found out I would be working at a different location.

That’s when the symptoms started. At first I thought nothing of the fatigue and shortness of breath. Next I started losing weight, and although that’s expected after a pregnancy the fact that I was dropping five to seven pounds a week scared me. I visited my doctor, explained my symptoms and had chest X-rays. They found fluid around my lungs, so they ran more tests and took scans, then gave me a biopsy. On Nov. 21, when Lily was just over three months old, I got the results—I had cancer.

It was malignant pleural mesothelioma, a kind of cancer that forms in the lining of the lung, usually caused by exposure to asbestos. I felt so devastated for Lily that I couldn’t even think about myself at first. If I took no course of treatment I would have 15 months to live, and the thought of my husband and Lily alone filled me with determination.

We traveled to Boston and in February I underwent surgery to remove my left lung, the surrounding tissue and lymph nodes. Doctors also removed the diaphragm on me left side along with the lining of my heart and one of my ribs, replacing it with surgical Gore-Tex. My recovery in the hospital lasted 18 days, and another two months at home before starting chemotherapy and then radiation.

Luckily, our village of support was there to help. My parents cared for Lily at their home in South Dakota while we were in Boston, enlisting the help of church members and even my childhood friends. They kept me updated, sending pictures when she ate her first food or tried crawling for the first time.

The five years since then have been very different. I never did return to work, but being home with Lily felt like the perfect place to be. Seeing how fragile life can be has made us all appreciate the time we have together that much more, and always remain thankful for the village of support and for our faith in God throughout the ordeal. I now teach Lily the importance of giving back and embracing life.

My favorite quote is, “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.”

And it is something I’ve truly come to embrace.

Heather, thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story on my blog. I truly appreciate it, and I’m so glad you survived to see your beautiful daughter grow and to have more time with all of your wonderful loved ones.

So many people have suffered and are suffering from cancer, and some of those people might have lost hope. May they find a measure of comfort in this post and maybe even experience a renewed faith in God’s ability to work miracles in people’s lives.

That’s all I have for today readers, and to close out this post, I leave you with a little scripture that seems to be applicable:

So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. (Matthew 17: 20 (NKJV)

Have you witnessed miracles  in your faith or others? If so, I’d love for you to tell me your story in the comments section.

If you enjoyed this post, please check out Trytophan and Black Friday Stampedes and others in the archives

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