Friday, April 18, 2014

Meet Heather. A mother who beat the odds of cancer.

One thing I love about the internet is getting to meet really inspiring people and hear about their story. Meet

As a young little girl, she was exposed to asbestos through her fathers work jacket. Then 30 years later she was diagnosed with mesothelioma just 3 ½ months after having her first and only child, Lily.She was given just 15 months to live!! Can you imagine what it would be like to be taking care of a new little life and then find out that you are fighting for your own?!  She shared with me that once diagnosed, most patients die within 2 years. Miraculously, she beat the odds and is telling her story eight years later!! 

 Below is our interview:
C: Bring us back to when you got the diagnosis as a new mom. What was that like?
H: Terrifying, but at the same time, I made up my mind to fight like hell to beat it, all I kept thinking about was this little girl and who she would be come without a mommy… so many things rush through your mind at a time like that, especially when you hear you may only live 15 months to live.. I knew though, in my heart of hearts, that it was not my time and I would live to see my daughter grow up.
{photo taken during her recover with baby Lily}

C:What kept you motivated to fight and beat the odds?

H: All I had to do was look at Lily.. here was this little baby… innocent and oblivious to the chaos surrounding her...I just had to look at her serious little face, with her lower lip sucked in and that was all the motivation I needed.  My husband reminded me of her every single day while we were away from her. He would get the emails my mom would send with pictures of Lily and print them off so I could see them.  This was before the days of Facebook and wifi in hospital rooms. and before texting pictures.. so this was the only way I could watch her grow, through grainy black and white pictures… but it was enough to get stronger and get home to her. 

C: How has your perspective on life changed now that you have gone through this?

H: Oh wow… I've changed so much.  I worked in the salon industry, and one can becomes quite shallow and self absorbed doing that sort of work for so long, and I was no exception.  I loved what I did, but was a bit on the selfish side, and used to let small things drive me crazy… now? I don't sweat the small stuff… I don't think so much of myself first.. it's for others. 

C: What do you want people to know about you or about Asbestos causing cancer?

H: Asbestos disease can happen to anyone..  I was a new mom, and it struck me down at a time in my life when I should have been celebrating the new life of my child… no one is immune to it.  Education, awareness, and prevention are the only way to protect yourself from asbestos. Early detection with any illness increases your chances, and that is where the awareness comes in. Many people think asbestos is no longer a problem because they thought it was banned, well, it isn't. Its still being used today, despite the devastation it causes.. and until more people know, nothing will change. That is why I do what I do. 

In honor of Asbestos Awareness during the month of April, Heather has created a webpage dedicated to raising awareness: Check it out and show her some love! This is a preventable disease and you can learn more about it here and here!

Heather has inspired me to stay strong and stay positive with whatever life throws at you. Such an inspiration of strength and courage!

Have a great weekend!
Besitos, xo

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