I was so ecstatic when I learned I was going to be a mom for the first time in August of 2005. I did everything I could to learn as much as possible about the new life I had ahead of me. I ate all the right foods, read all the right books, and even visited with all the best doctors. Most of the time, Cameron and I would plan for how different our lives were about to be. When Lily was born, I thought nobody had ever been as lucky as I was.
Shortly after her birth, I started to feel so crappy. My chest literally felt like there was a truck parked on it. I chalked it up to being a new mom, but decided it was time to go to the doctors. After numerous doctor visits, I received devastating news that no amount of planning could have ever prepared me for. Less than four months after Lily’s birth, I learned that I had a rare cancer called malignant pleural mesothelioma. Even worse, I was told I only had 15 months to live! 15 months? How could this be? A mom, with a newborn baby girl, given only 15 months to live? Cameron and I decided that we would not take that as an option. I knew I needed to do whatever it would take to be there to raise my daughter. We were directed to the world’s best mesothelioma doctor in Boston at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
I missed an entire month of Lily’s new life, by fighting for my own over 1200 miles away. I underwent a risky surgery where they removed my left lung, the lining of my heart and my diaphragm. Once we were finally back home, the remainder of my treatment involved radiation and chemotherapy that lasted most of the year. I could never thank my parents, Cameron and my friends enough for all they were able to do while I was recovering.
Once I was able to recover a little bit, I spent all of my time with my new baby. I needed to make up for the three months that I was away. We took walks, played outside, and went to the park and did as much as I had the energy for. I felt so lucky to have her.
Not much has changed since we got the terrible news eight years ago. We love Lily so much and are so grateful to have her. My husband Cameron and I have taught her to cherish life even though she doesn’t remember the first year of her life. We went through so much, and we never take anything for granted.
Mesothelioma Awareness is something that I am very passionate about and hope that one day, my story, among others, will lead to the ban of asbestos. My husband Cameron and I blog for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance and have found they have great information regarding the disease. I am going to continue to raise awareness and be grateful that I am still here today, even if I only have one lung! I hope that my story inspires others and helps them in their time of need, no matter what their need is.