What Would You Do With A Fifteen Months Left to Live Diagnosis?
Life can be unpredictable at best. We have moments of routine, of everything going right and sometimes out of nowhere we are hit with a monumental diagnosis that changes the course of our lives. This is what happened to Heather Von St. James when at the age of 36 she was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma.
In 2005, at the age of 36, and only a mere three months after giving birth to her daughter Lily Rose, Heather was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. People who have been exposed to high levels of asbestos are more likely to be diagnosed with this kind of cancer. Pleural mesothelioma develops in the lining of the lungs and the chest wall. Upon learning this life-altering diagnosis, Heather and her husband embarked upon a search to find the best mesothelioma treatment care available. Their search eventually led them to Dr. David Sugarbaker, a renowned mesothelioma surgeon at the Boston-based Brigham and Women’s hospital.
Today, Heather is a remarkable ten-year mesothelioma cancer survivor and has made it her mission to help other mesothelioma victims around the globe. She works to share her personal story to help spread hope and awareness for others going through this, in hopes that one day no one else will have to.
What is Mesothelioma?
Mesothelioma is a serious cancer and is mainly caused if you’ve been exposed to asbestos fibers. There is no safe amount of exposure. The smallest amount of asbestos can cause sever issues later on down the road as it did with Heather.
Causes of Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma is mostly attributed to exposure to asbestos, which can happen in the workplace, home or by chance. People can also become exposed through second hand exposure, like Heather, completely unknowingly.
Symptoms (from Mesothelioma)
- coughing up blood
- trouble swallowing
- pleural effusion
- trouble breathing
- vomiting and nausea
- bowel obstruction
- blood clotting disorder
- chest pain
- weight loss
Due to the rarity of the disease, finding treatment and research in this area is difficult, only 3,000 people a year are diagnosed in the US (Mesothelioma). Treatment does include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Heather Von St. James has just celebrated being 10 years cancer free! An amazing moment for her and her family – one I am sure they were never too sure would happen. If you are or know someone who is suffering with Mesothelioma, head over and connect with Heather. Do not feel like you are alone, Heather is here to help share her journey and be a part of yours.