Thursday, August 8, 2013

Cancer Sucks. This Mom Rocks!

I am so honored today to be able to introduce you to supermom Heather Von St James. When her sweet daughter, Lily, was just a few months old Heather was diagnosed with Mesothelioma. Leaving her newborn baby with her parents she flew across the country to Boston for treatment at the Brigham and Women's Hospital. She went through an insanely intense treatment while here in Beantown but returned home healthy & cancer free! Her story is one of hope, inspiration and determination. Cancer sucks. There's no other way to describe it. It has affected us all in some capacity or another. But after getting to know Heather I find I have more faith and more hope. Faith in finding a cure. Hope that the ones we love will continue to have the strength to fight the fight and beat cancer. 

Heather is a symbol of strength & determination to all of us mamas. It is so easy to get discouraged and downhearted. Hey, no one said being a mama was easy! Read her story and explore her blog. I think you'll agree that you'll find all the strength, support and motivation you need to get through your own battle - be it big or small. Remember, keep calm & mommy on!

Here is Heather's story and message of hope, in her own words:

“At last, I finally felt ready to become a mother. When I found out I was pregnant, I was determined that there would be no surprises.  Therefore, I prepared myself through reading all the books I could find, ate the right foods, and saw the right doctors. I dreamt about how my life would soon revolve around my new baby. After nine months of patiently waiting, Lily was born and I truly believed that I was the luckiest mother in the world.

Nothing could have prepared me for the news I received just 3 ½ months after giving birth to Lily.  My doctor diagnosed me with pleural mesothelioma. The fact that it was a cancer diagnosis was bad enough, but what really hit hard was the mesothelioma prognosis.  In my mind it was a death sentence. My doctor advised me that without immediate treatment, I might only have 15 months left to live. I was determined to do whatever it took to beat this and raise my daughter.

My husband and I settled on Boston as a source of great medical care for mesothelioma treatment. That meant that I had to leave my baby 1200 miles behind during treatment for an entire month where doctors removed my lung as well as the lining of my heart and diaphragm. The rest of my treatment, chemotherapy and radiation, took up the remainder of Lily's first year. My parents provided Lily with some normalcy while I was fighting for my life. Luckily, I was blessed with a caring husband who supported me in the greatest time of need.

When I finally got back home, Lily and I took walks together and played outside. We went to the park and had mother-daughter dates when I had the energy. It was a special time as we reconnected, shared our love and enjoyed our time together. I realized just how lucky I really was to have someone like her in my life.

It has been eight years since our daughter was born and it feels as though nothing has changed. Our love still continues to grow everyday. Cam and I consider us to be the luckiest parents in the world. Lily is growing into a beautiful, intelligent girl brimming with optimism and full of joy. She knows what we as a family endured and knows we love her dearly. Although she may not remember her first year, I will never forget that time.

In retrospect, my experience with mesothelioma cancer was a frightening experience but we are now able to see all the positives that came of such a dire situation. We have drawn closer together as a family and never take anything for granted. I hope that by sharing my story, it will inspire those in need of hope and let them know that you are not alone.”


To learn more about Mesothelioma and Heather's journey go here

If you, or someone you know, is a rocking super mom send an email to keepcalmmommyon(at)gmail(dot)com for a chance to be featured. I've already got some ideas brewing for a monthly gig! (And by the way - if you are a mom, then you're a rocking super mom. No other qualifications needed!)

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