Thursday, March 1, 2012

Mysterious Ways

The internet works in mysterious and wonderful ways. My readers friends know that my daughter would not be here were it not for connecting with my donor, Kathy, on my blog. I'm often overcome with emotion when I look at my daughter and think about the fact that she's here in the world, in my life, grew in my body, because someone, who was a stranger at the time, read of my longing to be a mother and decided to help.

A few weeks ago I received a comment here asking me to email the reader, as she wanted to ask me a question. I did and received an email from Heather Von St James, a mom and a cancer survivor. She was reaching out to me as a mom asking if I would consider putting up a link to her blog as a resource for other parents who might be dealing with a serious illness while parenting young children. Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma when her daughter was just 3 1/2 months old. Mesothelioma is virulent form of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. There is absolutely no way Heather could have possibly known that my father died of mesothelioma a few weeks before my 17th birthday. The prognosis for mesothelioma is grim. I have never before known a survivor. Six years after her diagnosis, Heather is cancer free. She is a survivor! Every day she spends with her daughter is a blessing she wasn’t sure she’d have. She has written eloquently of her experiences. From realizing she was having serious symptoms, through her diagnosis, aggressive surgery, and treatments, Heather focused on surviving for her daughter.

This quote from Heather shows what kind of warrior Heather is:
“When I found out I had mesothelioma, I easily could have given up after reading statistics on the disease. The survival rate was dismal (2%) It’s not very encouraging to read when you are diagnosed with a disease, but instead of giving up, I made up my mind; SOMEONE has to be in that 2%. That someone was going to be me. And now, almost 6 years later, I am considered a long-term survivor. My attitude is this; I survived for a reason, to spread hope and awareness about mesothelioma.”

Heather is one of us. Those of us who have defied the odds and become mothers despite infertility and/or loss and blog about it. Those who are still battling to cross over to motherhood. We share our stories. We never know who we may touch. Who will find hope in our success or tenacity. We connect. We abide by each other during hard times. We hit refresh dozens of times a day when a bloggy friend is waiting for test results. And we celebrate each other’s victories.

Heather asked if I wanted to write a tribute to my father. I’m not finding the words. My daughter is my tribute to my father. She is named for him. Oh, how he would have adored her! Here are a few pictures of me and my father. Then please go click over to Heather’s blog and get to know this amazing woman.

I am one here.

My father scared the crap out of me by renting a clown costume for my 5th birthday.
My father felt awful, but I got over it fairly quickly.

I think I'm about seven here. Wow, did I need braces! That's some overbite.

 Heather Von St. James - Mesothelioma Survivor Blog
 Visit Heather's Blog