Guest Post by Heather James

I was super excited that someone contacted me to host their post on my blog. I felt all special. And then to have such an inspirational story was a bonus as well. So without further ramblings from me. Please let me introduce to you Heather  James and her touching story.
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Heather Von St. James - Mesothelioma Survivor Blog

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What Life is Truly About

My world came crashing down on November 21st 2005 when I was
diagnosed with malignant pleural
mesothelioma, a
deadly cancer. Even more devastatingly, my only child was only three and a half
months old when I received my diagnosis. As I made the journey through this
life threatening disease, I discovered inner strength that I never knew I had.
I was referred to Dr. David Sugarbaker, the one of the world’s leading
mesothelioma doctors, at
Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston. For the first time, I had hope.
Although there were only 2% of individuals who were still alive five years
after their diagnosis of this deadly disease, I decided I would be part of that
slim statistic. For the next year, I aggressively fought this disease and left
my six-month old baby with her grandparents 1900 miles away from Boston. I had
major surgery in Boston to remove my left lung and the lining around it where a
tumor had formed. I underwent chemotherapy and radiation for the next few
months.

Although I was sick during her first year of life, I was raising
my daughter with the valued assistance of my family and friends. For Lily’s
first birthday, we joyously celebrated, not only for her first year of life,
but also because my cancer battle was drawing to a close. Just one month before
my one year anniversary of the devastating diagnosis, I had finished my final
radiation treatment and I vowed to my family, friends and myself that I would
never acquire cancer again.

Due to my battle with cancer, I have a different perspective about
life. The years since my battle have continued to teach me important lessons
about life. I never take life for granted now because I know that it can be
gone in an instant. I enjoy the small things in life, such as hearing the sound
of little girl’s laughter, a rainbow that appears after a rain shower and puppy
breath. All of these little joys in life remind me that my mission in life is
to live.  

My cancer battle also introduced me to some of the most inspiring
people that I would ever encounter. These individuals’ names are permanently
seared in my brain and carved on my heart. Some of these individuals fought the
same cancer battle, but tragically did not survive. Other individuals were
loved ones who stood by family members who were inflicted with mesothelioma.
Still other amazing individuals inspired me with their strength, tenacity and
willingness to survive. For these inspiring individuals, I want to raise
awareness for mesothelioma. Please inform other people know that mesothelioma
is a real disease that inflicts real people; it is not just another daytime TV
commercial.

Today and every day, I live my life to the fullest and enjoy every
small moment. There are still difficult times, but even during bad days, I
still find there are so many things for which to be grateful. In my opinion,
this is what life is truly about.

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